This is the second of a two-part series, which originally appeared in the HCV Advocate; it presents an overview of how to prepare for hepatitis C treatment. Click here to read part one.
Alan FranciscusMedical Tests
There may be tests your medical provider will order before you start treatment:
Pregnancy test—If ribavirin is part of your treatment you will need to verify that you are not pregnant before starting treatment. This is also true if you are a female partner of a male patient starting treatment.
HCV-RNA or viral load test—This is used to confirm active infection and as a baseline test.
Genotype test—This test determines the strain of hepatitis C—there are seven genotypes. Genotype 1 is the most common followed by genotype 2 and 3. Genotype information is used to determine what HCV treatment to take and for how long to take it.
Baseline tests—These include a variety of tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), diabetes, thyroid and liver tests. Your general health will be assessed, especially if you are older than 40 or 50 years old or at risk for various medical problems.
Medical and dental procedures—In some cases, it may be a good idea to have any serious medical, and dental procedures completed well in advance prior to beginning HCV therapy. If the medical or dental procedure is not severe, you may be able to postpone it until after treatment, so your body has a chance to recover from treatment. Discuss this with your doctor.
Immunizations—You can be immunized while on treatment.
Anxiety—Current therapy can cause anxiety and though uncommon, depression. Talk with your medical provider if you are concerned about this. Medication can provides relief relatively quickly.