Dear Petra: Expert Answers to Your Questions about Hep-C and Addiction

dear petra

Diagnosed … Now What??

Cross Rivers State, Nigeria

Dear Petra: Please, Petra, what is the next step of action upon discovery that one is positive with the Hepatitis C virus?

Dear Discovery: The next step for you would be to go to a medical doctor. The physician will likely send you to a liver specialist, and they will determine what course of treatment you will require. For myself, the first thing I did was to research Hepatitis C and seek support groups. There are others like you out there, to help and provide information and knowledge. If not, do what I did and create one!? Just a thought! Or come and join our channel every Saturday!

Harvoni and Hep B!

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Petra: I just seen that people that have had Hep B in the past should not take Harvoni for Hep C. I have had Hep B in the past, and last year took Harvoni for Hep C and was cured. I’m concerned about the Hep B coming back as my liver has been really sore. Do you
have any knowledge on this?

Dear Freaked Out: I pulled this directly off of the Harvoni website: “Hepatitis B virus reactivation: Before starting HARVONI treatment, your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check for hepatitis B infection. If you have ever had hepatitis B, the hepatitis B virus could become active again during and after treatment with HARVONI. This may cause serious liver problems including liver failure and death. If you are at risk, your healthcare provider will monitor you during and after taking HARVONI.” Please bring this to your doctor. Apparently, doctors should educate themselves first—sad, but, oh so true. I wish you well. Please share your new knowledge.

Treatment in the Phillipines?

Lapu Lapu City, Phillipines

Dear Petra: Hello from the Philippines. I have Hep C. I had my first test ten years ago and still haven’t received any treatment. Now back pain kills me— almost every night. What should I do? Please help me. Looking to hear from you soon. Thank you.

Dear Phillipines: From what I have been able to ascertain, there seems to be no free medical or treatment available in your country. In fact, it seems that you are unable to get the Indian generics into your country, and the USA is your only route. That would involve pharmaceutical industry pricing, and taxes, duties and shipping from the United States. I wish I had better news. The back pains are more than likely associated with the damage the virus can do over a period of time.

What Makes Drugs Addicting?

Glasgow, Scotland

Dear Petra: This may sound like a silly question, but what is it in drugs that makes them addicting? As a parent, I am curious.

Dear Curious: There are many ingredients in drugs that create addictions. Then, there is the difference between street drugs and Pharmaceutical drugs. So, in a nutshell, different drugs act differently on the brain. They all cause the release of the neurotransmitter DOPAMINE, which is located in the brain’s “reward area.” This is the brain’s way of feeling the pleasurable sensation known as a high. These body opiates are created naturally—like the sensation of a roller coaster ride, for example. With continued drug use, the natural opiates (endorphins) stop working on their own. When people give up chemical drugs, it generally takes a year for the body to start making its own chemicals again.