The appearance and extent of side effects vary widely from person to person. Most side effects occur in the first four weeks of the treatment and often diminish gradually over the course of the treatment.
Somatic side effects
- Flu-like symptoms most commonly occur within several hours of the interferon injections, including fever, headache, fatigue, sore muscles, joints, and limbs. These can be readily treated preventively by administering a cold remedy (paracetamol, 500 mg, 30-60 minutes prior to the interferon injection).
- Fatigue, which will decrease during the course of the therapy and will not completely disappear until the conclusion of treatment.
- Nausea, often occurring when first taking ribavirin, can be handled with medicinal treatment.
Psychic side effects of interferon
- Irritability, mood-swings
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety, manic behaviour
- Cognitive disorders (memory, concentration, occasionally confused states)