Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

skin rashI don’t know about you, but when I read the list of side effects of treatment, I was blown away. I literally logged off my computer and didn’t read again for several days. That was just reading about Interferon and Ribavirin! When I began to read about the protease inhibitor side effects, more of a settled feeling had come over me. For one, I was initially denied treatment because of liver failure, or decompensation. Once I stood in front of a  transplant doctor and was told treatment was an option, the side effects no longer mattered. I lay on that examination table and one thought was dominant: “I want to live.” I chose to take Incivik which is the brand name for Telaprevir.

You and I need to talk about these side effects dear friend. There is no way around some of them, especially the skin rash from Hepatitis C treatment. You’re gonna just have to face it. you can get relief from some of the itchy side effects. Get yourself a cup of coffee or a coke, and lets just go through them one at a time. I know. I hate it just as much as you do. It cannot be avoided, though. Let’s just start and you can take a break if you want.

I’m going to start with the side effects that bugged me the most. Like, the ones that drove me crazy with protease inhibitor. Yikes!

Itchy crazy skin rash: Your skin care problems start with the Protease Inhibitors (PI), but that can last more than the initial 12 weeks. There are work arounds and I’m going to list them all. You’ll have to try and see what works for you. It’s like shooting in the dark and you’ll have to try different bullets. Some products worked for a while, and then stopped. I switched off and on occasionally during the 43 weeks. Believe me, it was bad but I endured.

Here’s my list of what worked: Cool showers or baths – No matter how itchy your skin, or how sore your muscles, do NOT relax in a hot tub or shower. Get in there for a quick cool bath and you’ll have less dry skin. I used mild detergent to wash the bath tub. Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap was my only body cleanser and I even used it to clean my tub toward the end of treatment. Some friends got a lot of relief by using oatmeal bath products like Aveeno. I did not have any success with it, but it’s worth a try.

After bathing, I applied straight up olive oil for the most part. I ended up using a Eucerin type thick lotion on some nights. It’s sticky, but it works. Gold Bond Cream was a favorite for some of my friends. Coconut oil is another clean product that can provide relief. HINT: The fewer chemicals, the better. Even petroleum jelly bothered me more at times.

When it got really bad, like within a few weeks, a steroid cream worked for me. My doctor prescribed Triamcinolone Acetonide 0.1%. I used it very very sparingly and rubbed it at what I came to call my “hot spots” many times. However, when the rash spread all over my back, neck, chest area – I have to admit to slathering it on.

olive oil for skin hepatitis c

Making it through the night is rough. When I was all gooped up, I would go lay down on sheets only and turn the fan on. I took the ice bags that my meds were shipped in and lay them on the itchiest part. Rotating them through the freezer, I could make it through the night. If you decide to give it a shot, be sure and use a zipper type bag. You may want to double bag and even wrap it in a towel. This sounds insane. I’m laughing now. It was like the fleas of 1,000 camels had infested my body. Stinging, biting, nerves on edge. I remember the anxious urge to scratch. DON’T do it. Maybe rub gently, if nothing else just to sooth your mind. Some nights I lay there packed in ice and rolled back and forth to a cooler part of the bed, or I’d move to the couch and then back to bed. I saved a lot of money on heating bills, because body warmth made it worse! In July when I started, it was a mess. Check out my blog just for SUMMER skin rash here. Most of my treatment was in winter and I’d literally go outside and brace myself in a cold breeze.

S.O.S. Here’s where Benedryl can help because it can also numb your brain. Eventually my doctor prescribed Atarax and Vistaril. They come in pill form and are supposed to make you drowsy, but it did not work that way for me. A warning for ESLD and cirrhosis patients: Talk with your doctor. I took ½ Xanax at times just to stay calm and get rest so that I could work the next day. It was a mentally crazy time for me. Take heart though! It only lasts for a few weeks during the PI stage. Keep telling yourself that this is just temporary. There WILL be an end to it. Summon every ounce of mental strength and get through it one day at a time. I ended up having skin problems throughout the rest of treatment, but they were not  severe like they were during the protease inhibitor phase.

Be sure and watch for any signs of scabbing, infection, extreme amounts of large blisters, etc. TELL YOUR DOCTOR! I was warned that the medication would be discontinued if my rash got too bad or it became systemic. I did have multiple blisters and ezcema. For months there were even blisters on my face. Whoa! More on that later. But it never got to the point where I had to stop treatment. You do not want infection to set in.

Once the Protease Inhibitor itchies are calmed down a little, you begin to settle into a calming skin care regime that may become a lifetime habit. My itching, dry skin continued until the end of all treatment – 43 weeks. I’m still cautious and use only Dr. Bonner to bath with. I’ve used Gold Bond, which helped a lot of my friends on treatment. I also tired Vaseline Intensive Care. The olive oil and coconut oil seems to work best for me even though I’ve been off treatment for almost 7 months. If you have cirrhosis, dry skin may continue to be a problem. This is especially true if you use diuretics. Some may think this advice is just for the ladies, but scaly skin is not any fun, no matter what your gender. That is, unless you are into the alligator look!

Another skin care issue concerns the hands. Hepatitis treatment is like chemotherapy. It attacks every cell in your body. My finger tips and cuticles cracked to the point of bleeding. At one point, many of my friends also noticed they had fissures, like a deep cavernous ridge that would not heal. I tried everything I’ve mentioned before. I quit getting them wet whenever possible. I also used a topical antibiotic and kept a bandaid over the cracked places during the day to help them heal. They did not really go away until treatment was over.

Facial skin is a lot more delicate and thin. I developed eczema around my eyes and nose. I used slight amounts of the steroid cream my doctor prescribed. They were not happy with me when they found out I used it on my face. I’m not promoting any product for sales purposes, but Clarins was the only thing that calmed it down. The Multi Regenerist Oil was used daily and kept in my drawer at work. I also used their sunscreen. Unfortunately, the sun creates a lot of heat and that exacerbated the little boils and blisters. See my blog on sun skin care. Then the skin became thick in those areas and peeled quite a bit. My facial skin had become sensitive for a few years before diagnosis and I began using this product after trying several others. For me, it’s a way of life. I use it sparingly and get bonus product from my department store representative. She saw me through the treatment when I did not have any extra cash to waste on extravagant skin care. I only share this experience in case someone else is having the same problems. If you find something else that works, by all means let this girl friend know!

As for scalp, I began using the mildest shampoo that I could to protect the dry skin there. I lost about 70% of my hair and the flakes flew around just like the dark strands. This is sounding bleak, I know. It’s just part of the experience, and there IS an end to it. My hair began growing back fairly quickly. I colored at home every 6 to 8 weeks. Gentle, infrequent washing is helpful, as is a satin pillowcase. But it still fell out. The wig portion was short lived, but allowed me to go to work during the rough months. Click here to read the blog on hair.  Lol. Whattamess!

I’m off to do some Black Friday shopping with the grandkids. Honestly, it’s been a year and my life is so different now. I’ll finish posting more on this when I get home. Karen :)

To be continued……………..

Does the itching seem to make you feel like your nerves are on edge? How do you get relief from THAT?

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S. Be assured that you can get through skin rash hepatitis c treatment with the skin crazy itching. I promise. Follow my twitter too!

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S. pic via amazingoliveoil.com

Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Skin Rash Hepatitis C Treatment S.O.S.

  1. Hey, thanks for this I am just over 34 weeks into treatment and have 14 weeks to go. The itching and skin has been bad but seems to be getting worse. Now it feels like the veins under my skin are transporting acid or something round my body. Mainly in my hands and legs. I thought I was going mad so and somehow making it all up, but reading your blog I feel I will get through this. You are right the same thing/cream doesn’t always work and I have been given 3 or 4 different ones, so I use what ever’s to hand so my body doesn’t get used to one or the other. I have read that caster oil and coconut oil are good for hair loss but after reading this I realise it might give me much more relief to use it all over. Thanks its goof to know I am not cracking up. Carolx

    1. Carol –
      So glad to find a new BFF in the battle. You’ve done well! 34 weeks. Wow. I remember that point. This is where the mental game kicks in. It’s all about endurance hunnyo.

      It does feel like acid, or little electrical shocks or something. It’s like childbirth now. I remember it… but it’s a distant memory. Please let me know if there is anything else you need help with. Mostly, just know that you are not cracking up. Well, maybe.. but you are NOT alone in this.

      I’ll think of you all day now with xoxoxo,
      Karen:)

  2. Im not in treatment yet but I itch like ive got poison ivy. I get burning rashes on my arms and different areas sometimes. If I touch one of these areas (even barely) the itching or should I say “burning” intensifies 10× ! Ive had this for years. Ive tried every thing in the world but ive got to where ive learned to just bear it. I hate telling people about stuff like this but it does help to let it out. Thank you!

    1. Jody,

      My skin was itchy and I even had excema like scaling the 2 years before my diagnosis. I think it goes along with Hep C. Then the treatment makes it worse. I still have some itching due to cirrhosis, but NOTHING like before. Have you tried Triamcinolone? It’s safe. My granddaughter got an rx for it with excema. My dr gave it to me for what is called the “hot spots”.

      I’m sorry you are so miserable with this. It is truly maddening. You know scratching makes it worse, but it is hard not to! Cool baths dear friend. I’m glad you found a place to let it all out. You’re def not alone.

      xo Karen:)

  3. Karen

    I am new to your site. I was going to suggest Triamcinolone to your reader’s. On my 2nd attempt to beat Hep C March 2013 a rash developed on my back from using Incivek. This ointment helped but did not stop it. On my 7th week my viral load got down to 43, sometime during this time I picked up Staph Infection which got into my blood system.
    After a short Hospital stay and a month of Infusion’s the rash started itching again. Doctor’s say it’s eczema. Triamcinolone and Benadryl seems to the eczema.
    Doctor’s stopped treatment. I can’t do Interferon again, so I am waiting for the next
    treatment that will cure Genotype 1a 1st time around, which I heard was end of 2014 or early 2015.
    Thank you Karen for you Website
    Joe

    1. Hey Joe,

      Welcome to the BFF site. Yeah! For sure the Triamcinolone is a life saver. First of all let me say that I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with treatment. I read a lot about the staph infections that can result from that. I’ll bet you were in a lot of pain from that. It was one of my worst fears when I took Incivik. Thankfully you survived!
      What a bummer to get down that low on your viral load and have to be pulled off treatment. You are right though, the new medications are proving to be much easier to take. Less time and lower side effects. Of course the interferon and riba are still part of it.
      I think the eczema is part is fairly common. My skin was a mess for a few years before diagnosis. My granddaughter has eczema and I tried some of here Triamcinolone. It is really safe to use even in children. It was a life saver! I am happy to say that my skin problems are a thing of the past. I have very few itchy spots and they are rare too. Thanks for reminding readers about the use of Benedryl also.
      Honestly, I hope you will stay in touch. I’ve been working on a blog about the new treatments. I wanted to wait until all the info about paying for it was in before posting. I know that SVR is in your future. xoxo
      All my best, Karen:)

  4. I failed the tx with interferon and ribavirin 10 years ago. I will be starting Ribavirin and Sovaldi next week. I’ll try to get back to this site and post how it’s going
    Kenna

    1. Kenna,

      Congratulations! The new drugs have such a high SVR rate. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. I remember when getting ready to treat, I was looking for stuff to read too. I hope your side effects are few with the new meds!

      Keep me posted,
      Karen:)

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