Post interferon therapy decreases male fertility through gonadotoxic effect

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2018 Jul;31(4(Supplementary)):1565-1570.


Prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been seen in more than 15% of Pakistani population. For the treatment of this infection, only two medicines, interferon, and ribavirin were approved in 1998. The concerned physicians evaluate side effects of these two antiviral drugs only during the treatment period. The long-term extra hepatic side effects are being neglected. This retrospective study was conducted with reference to induced infertility in HCV treated 40 male patients from the period 2008-2015. Possible effects of interferon therapy on fertility hormones and seminal parameters were assessed. Level of fertility hormones like serum Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and testosterone was measured. For seminal parameters, guidelines from World Health Organization (WHO) were followed. Among forty cases of HCV patients who received interferon, only 14 (35%) have children and 26 (65%) could not conceive (p = 0.0372). After HCV treatment, HCV positive patients showed a significant change in the level of FSH, LH (p<0.05). Especially, it decreased testosterone level (p=0.0096). Similarly, HCV treatment significantly decreased sperm count (p=0.001) and motility (p=0.0005).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / blood*
  • Infertility, Male / chemically induced*
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Interferons / adverse effects*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects*
  • Sperm Motility / physiology
  • Testosterone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Interferons