Advantages for delaying treatment – if DAAs are not available

For anyone with access to modern HCV treatment (DAAs), there are no advantages of delaying treatment (other than the cost of these drugs).

DAAs are easy to take, they have few side effects, and treatment usually only involves 1 to 2 pills a day for 12 weeks.

When DAAs are not available, there are disadvantages linked to pegylated interferon and ribavirin. 

  • The major disadvantages of interferon and ribavirin are side effects and the impact they could have on your life during treatment.
  • Occasionally side effects (especially from peginterferon) mean you need to stop treatment. In rare instances, they can be long-term including as thyroid disease or type 1 diabetes.
  • Some people report that the side effects continue long after the end of treatment.
  • Treatment might not work.
  • New HCV drugs (DAAs) are more effective and be easier to tolerate. Waiting until you can get the new drugs might be better.
  • If your liver is healthy you may be able to delay treatment.
  • If you are thinking of getting pregnant in the next year, consider delaying treatment, since ribavirin causes birth defects.
  • Men and women should not conceive during treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin and for at least 6 months afterwards. Women who become pregnant on ribavirin must consider terminating the pregnancy.

Talking to peers worked for me…. we have long exchanges as most of my friends are co-infected. But I also think that as co-infected people we might need to have some specific support group, especially as regards treatment issues – and coping with treatment!

Last updated: 17 August 2017.