Your doctor and nurse will use several methods to measure how well your
treatments are working. You will have frequent physical exams and blood
tests. Don’t hesitate to ask the doctor about the test results and what
they show about your progress.
While tests and exams can tell a lot about how the interferon is working, side
effects tell very little. Sometimes people think that if they don’t have
side effects, the drugs aren’t working or that if they do have side
effects, the drugs are working well.
But side effects vary so much from person to person, that having them or not
having them usually isn’t a sign of whether the treatment is
effective. If you do have side effects, there is much you can do to help
relieve them. The next section of the FAQ describes some of the most
common side effects the people may experience while taking interferon,
and gives you some hints for coping with them.
If you are reading this section before you begin taking interferon, you may feel overwhelmed by the wide range of side effects it describes. But remember: Every person doesn’t get every side effect, and some people get few, if any. In addition, the severity of side effects varies greatly from person to person. Whether you have a particular side effect, and how severe it will be, depends on your own particular dosage and injection schedule, and how your body reacts. Be sure to talk to your doctor and nurse about which side effects are most likely to occur for you, how long they might last, how serious they might be, and when you should seek medical attention for them.