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Acta Gastroenterol Belg. 1997 Jul-Sep;60(3):211-3.

Practical management of patients treated with alpha interferon.

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Hôpital St Joseph, Gilly, Bruxelles.


Interferon alpha is currently used in chronic hepatitis and side effects are well known. They always must be kept in mind to start and to follow a patient under this therapy. A large number of autoantibodies may appear during interferon therapy, usually without clinical manifestations. The detection of dysthyroidism, requires measurement of antithyroid antibodies and TSH before and during interferon therapy. Exacerbation of chronic liver disease under IFN may be found in case of seroconversion in a patient with hepatitis B cirrhosis or in patient with a misdiagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis. Neurolopsychological disturbances are frequently reported; most of them spontaneously disappear. However, depression must be detected because of the risk of attempted or successful suicide. Worsening or sudden onset of psoriasis or lichen planus have been reported in patients treated with interferon. Appearance or aggravation of some clinical symptoms and biochemical tests may threaten life's patient under IFN therapy. The decision to maintain or to interrupt therapy should take into account the response to interferon and the severity of side effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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