Nutrition for Drug Therapy

How can I use nutrition to manage the effects of common drug therapies?

Current treatment for Hepatitis C patients involves the use of alpha interferon. Side effects commonly seen during the use of this drug include "flu-like" symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

What many find most helpful is eating 6-8 or more small frequent feedings throughout the day. Calorie and nutrient dense supplement drinks are often a necessity at this time as an addition to meals or as a meal replacement. Your R.D. can have you sample various types which best suit your digestive and absorptive abilities and of course your taste preferences.

Anxiety and depression may also accompany the use of alpha interferon. Since caffeine may worsen feelings of anxiety, slowly reducing and then eliminating caffeine from your diet is often helpful. Making each mealtime as pleasant and enjoyable as possible through the use of attractive placemats, candles, soft instrumental music, and stress-free conversation can help greatly. Turn off television news programs if they provoke feelings of stress. Learn how to really dine with peak enjoyment. Even breakfast can be enhanced by the glow of warm candlelight. A meal eaten outdoors on a beautiful day can also stimulate mood and appetite as well. Be creative!