Main Article Content
Objective: To assess the side effects of combination therapy of interferon plus ribavirin in chronic
hepatitis C patients.
Material and Methods: This prospective observational study was conducted in Medical unit DHQ
hospital Daggar and a private clinic of consultant physician in Peshawar from January 2001 to June 2004.
A total of 400 patients of chronic hepatitis C with positive Anti HCV (hepatitis C virus) antibodies and
HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were enrolled in the study. These patients received
combination therapy of interferon plus ribavirin for six months. During each visit these patients were
assessed for various unwanted effects related to the treatment. These side effects were graded as mild,
moderate and severe.
Results: The most common side effects observed in our patients were haematological in 92.5% (n=370), flu
like symptoms in 91% (n=364)., gastro intestinal in 88.5% (n=354), dermatological in 81.5% (n=326),
neuropsychiatric in 71.25%(n=285), respiratory symptoms in 14% (n=57), thyroid function abnormalities
in 4% (n=16), major depression in 1% (n=4) and suicide attempt in 0.5% (n=2). Most of the side effects
were mild to moderate. The severe adverse effects that led to reduction in dose or withdrawal of treatment
were noted in 50 (12.5%) patients.
Conclusion: Treatment of hepatitis C with combination therapy is not without harmful effects. Most of the
side effects are attributed to interferon and some to ribavirin.
Work published in JPMI is licensed under a
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.