Hydroxycarbamide v Pegasys Interferon

Hi I am due to start having treatment for PV, so far have just been having aspirin daily and venesections when needed. My haematological thinks it's time to start with treatment and I have been fortunate to have been offered the choice between the two. I am leaning towards interferon but am worried as I have always suffered with depression so it concerns me that this will worsen? Has anyone found this to be a major problem. I was also told they both lower our immune system, how concerning is this, would we need to avoid people with colds? Feeling very confused between the choice of the two at the moment.

8 Replies

  • Hi there - I know how you are feeling as I have ET and had the same choice to make between HU and Pegasys a few months ago. I too had some concerns about the psychological and other reported side effects of Pegasys but am pleased to report that it has worked very well for me and I have had no side effects apart from a bit of dry skin and some very minor mouth ulcers. My platelets are normal after just 3 months and I'm reducing to 1 injection every 3 weeks, which is very easy to accommodate. My white count is down but still just below normal and I've had no issues with infections despite being surrounded by people with colds for the last few months - my haem says my white count can go lower yet before infections would become a concern. Hope that helps - it was an arbitrary decision for me but I'm pleased I opted for Pegasys...

  • Thank you for your reply Andy. I'm so pleased it's working well for you, it's great to hear about the benefits and how positive it can be. I think I'm getting too side tracked by possible side effects and forgetting how beneficial treatment is. I really am swaying towards interferon. Thank you for putting some of my fears to bed. Take care. Onwards and upwards x

  • I'm also ET and have treated with Hydrea for 1 year. Now, I want to switch to Interferon so that I can become a pregnancy. How is your dose of interferon? starting dose?

  • I started on 45mcg per week, then increased to 90mcg per week. As my platelets dropped we reduced the frequency of injections to 10 days, then 2 weeks - now trying 3 weeks as my platelets have reached normal level. Hope all goes well for you.

  • Thank for your reply Andy!!!

  • I too have interferon non regulated, I am being weaned off the chemo as well as injecting 3 times a week....

    I feel OK not depressed at all, I also take clopidogrel, my platelets are at an all time low. I have had a slight cough and I'm a bit chesty, but to be expected at this time of year, were surrounded by people with the sniffles, so I'm glad in short to be on it. Hope this helps xx

  • Hi MicheleL,

    I have ET and was on HU for 10yrs when it stopped working for me I chose AG over PEG when that stopped working I had no other choice, I was very apprehensive at first and had the flu like symptoms which have now all gone I feel great and wish I had gone on PEG earlier. My inlaws live with us because of dementia and Parkinson's and we are fostering Challangeing twins ! Peg has lowerd my tolerance levels and ability to deal with stress, and I am not always aware of it.

    We all react differently to meds although there are common traits. Which ever way you go be positive and don't look for the bad side affects, we can depress our selves easily enough any way.

    Good luck,


  • There is a trial going on in the Mayo Clinic under Dr Messa and several other places in the US with HU versus Pegasy. I watched a video from Dr Messa and if the trial proves encouraging for ET pegasy could be considered a first line treatment for ET. I'm very interested in that as I think no matter how you look at it anything that is not an oral chemo drug is promising.

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