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, 29 (3), 345-8

Is Combination Therapy Interferon and Ribavirin in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Infection Toxic for Eyes?

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Is Combination Therapy Interferon and Ribavirin in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Infection Toxic for Eyes?

Nasser Mousa et al. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther.

Abstract

Background: Many side effects of combination therapy using pegylated interferon (IFN) and ribavirin for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have been well described. Ocular complications are fairly common. Diabetes mellitus (DM) and systemic hypertension are possible suggested risk factors for development of these complications.

Purpose: To determine the frequency of retinopathy and its risk factors in patients treated with combined pegylated IFN and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C infection.

Methods: Eligible 98 patients for HCV treatment with pegylated IFN a-2a, a-2b, and ribavirin between October 2011 and March 2012 were included. All patients underwent a baseline full ophthalmological examination, and any visual complaints during treatment prompted a repeat eye examination.

Results: Out of the eligible 98 patients, 48 (48.78%) patients received pegylated IFN alpha-2a, and the other 50 (51.21%) patients were treated with pegylated IFN alpha-2b. Out of 98 patients, 21 (21.42%) had diabetes; 19 (19.38%) patients had hypertension and 16 (16.32%) patients had both diabetes; and hypertension. Only 8 patients (8.16%) had documented retinopathy [2 had DM; one had hypertension; 4 had both hypertension and diabetes; and one patient without DM or hypertension]. Univariate logistic regression analysis revealed that diabetic, hypertensive patients are at increased risk for development of IFN-associated retinopathy (IAR) (P=0.007, Odds ratio=6.5, 95% confidence interval=1.56-27.

Conclusion: Retinopathy in chronic HCV-infected patients undergoing treatment with combination of pegylated IFN-alpha and ribavirin therapy appears to be relatively low, and treatment cessation is rarely needed. Diabetic, hypertensive patients are at increased risk for IAR and are recommended to be ophthalmologically followed-up.

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