Pegasus Interferon Treatment Through the Veterans Administration
Saturday, July 08, 2006 6:22 PM

Hepatitis C

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Dear Sir,

A friend forwarded me your website for help. My husband George was diagnosed with Hep C November 2004 and started the Pegasus interferon treatment through the VA in January. Everything seemed to be going ok until April when his mind "took a vacation - a bad, very bad trip". No one at VA told him the treatment might cause mental instability. The VA took him immediately off the treatment when he told them about the 3 car accidents he had within a 10-day period, and how he almost lost his job due to lack of focus and concentration.

Shortly after that, my 145-lb husband on a 6-ft. frame began loosing weight rapidly. After a visit to a primary care physician on his health care plan (not VA) due to stomach pains, he was admitted to the hospital for testing. After a few days in the hospital, the attending doctor released him because "tests proved no medical problem". Nobody cared that his weight had droped to 107 lbs. A month later, he developed a severe case of bronchitis, which led to a trip back to his primary care physician. That visit resulted in (at my request) a CBC. This was November 2005. We learned he had a severe case of Graves disease, and subsequent radioactive nuclear treatment brought him back from "near death".

My research brings me to the conclusion the interferon caused the Graves Disease. He is still recooperating - weight back up to 140 lbs. But he and I can tell he is still "not right". He is still taking antidepresants from the "mind loss" episodes and is now also taking Welbutrin to quit smoking (he did not smoke during his interferon treatment while very sick with the Graves). He quit drinking alcohol 20 years ago. While George was on the interferon, the VA tested his liver levels and told him the levels were "ok". I am not aware of any other tests they may have conducted to ensure the stability of other vital organs during this treatment.

We both want him to be cured of the hepatitis. He wants to "dump" all the pills or wean off of them but is afraid of ending up in a "rubber room". He no longer has his job because his boss said he was too old (53 years of age) to handle it anymore, but we know it's partly because of his weak health due to the interferon treatment and subsequent calamities, not his age. He was acutally doing fine before the Hep C treatment, except for being a little more tired than most folks.

As he is now without health insurance, he will be going back to the VA for health care. I think he should insist on more tests to see what all damage has been done to his body by the interferon other than what has already been made obvious. Could you please advise what all we should request the VA do with respect to testing? Also, please explain what geno type and Viro load means.

George is interested in researching your program and learning what type of treatment is best for him. The prospects of him obtaining another job in the same field are good due to his reputation, so I'm not too worried about that; its just a matter of time. I am very concerned about his health, and would appreciate any advice you can provide, so George is "armed" with proper questions and requests at his VA appointment next week.

Thank you very much! Gail. (George's wife)

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