Need to Vent About a Guinea Pig


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Hi Lloyd,

I just needed to vent to someone who would understand. I hope you don't mind. I went to go to the doctor for my yearly check up yesterday. My liver functions are still not in the normal range but they have remained stable year after year and have not increased. I feel great and, so far, am not symptomatic.

My doctor, who never brings this up, casually mentioned that he has another patient who took interferon and "seemed to handle it fairly well." He said that her Hep C was "gone." He said that might be an option for me. As soon as he mentioned interferon I could feel my skin start to crawl. The very thought of going through that torture again made me want to bolt out of the examination room.

I know that most remissions don't last but I didn't want to get into it with him so I told him that I tried interferon before and that I had to go off of it because it made me suicidal (this is true). He backed right off after I said this. I was glad he left it alone but my brain started to chew on the whole Hep C thing and whether or not I'm doing the right thing, how long will I live, blah, blah, blah..... (I'm sure you and your readers understand this thought process).

I thought of an old friend of mine who also has Hep C. The last time I saw her in March she told me that her doctor was pushing her to try Pegasys (she did a year of interferon / ribaviron about 5 years ago and, surprise, surprise, the Hep C came back). I called her last night to see if she was on Pegasys. She told me that she had been on it for about 12 weeks.

She told me that Pegasys "wasn't as bad as the interferon / ribaviron." But when I pushed for details she told me that she is feeling emotional and edgy, can't handle loud noises, can't sleep without taking benadryl and has lost weight because she has no appetite. She said her immune system is so suppressed that she got bit by a spider and almost had to be hospitalized. They thought she had that skin eating disease! The spider bite turned into a major infection where she had to be put on massive antibiotics. She also told me that she itches badly. She told me that she can't help but scratch her skin, and since her immune system is messed up, if she scratches too much it turns into a major infection as well.

I didn't have a chance to get more out of her because she was on her way out the door. I guess I don't understand how a drug that wrecks your red and white blood cells and ruins your immune system can help you. After I talked to her I was even more convinced that I will not take any form of interferon ever again.

It's sick to think that a scratch on your skin could kill you on that stuff! She is also on a lot of other medications to combat the damage that the Pegasys doing. I am convinced that she is being used as a guinea pig. That makes me very sad because I believe that this treatment will cause long-term damage to her system.

Kim W.

Hi Kim:

Your right, your friend is being used, for what, I am no longer sure. Pegasus is worse for many, it is actually the same drug, different company.

Interferon's do not work well the second time as HCV mutates with each replication and rapidly builds an immunity to interferon.

The medical community is worthless for treating hep c with interferon. And that is an understatement. They are killing people for the sake of money. They are damaging the quality of life of people for the sake of money.

I have spent 10 years trying to stop this. I think that the United States should have sanctions placed against it for human rights violations for allowing Pharmaceutical companies to get completely out of control and for helping them in their quest!

According to the anthropologists at Berkeley, the state of medicine in the US is at the lowest point in human history. Just

Say No to Interferon!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:02 AM