Interferon (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Some interferons are associated with liver failure and periodic liver function tests are recommended during therapy.

Depression and suicide have been reported among patients receiving interferons; however, it is unclear whether depression and suicidal thoughts are caused by the diseases being treated or the interferons themselves. Therefore, all patients receiving treatment with an interferon should be observed for the development of depression and suicidal thoughts.

For what conditions are interferons used?

Since interferons enhance the immune system in many ways, they are used for many diseases that involve the immune system. For example:

  • Interferon alfa-2a (Roferon-A) is FDA-approved to treat hairy cell leukemia, AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
  • Interferon alfa-2b is approved for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia, malignant melanoma, condylomata acuminata, AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, chronic hepatitis C, and chronic hepatitis B.
  • Ribavirin combined with interferon alfa-2b, interferon alfacon-1 (Infergen), pegylated interferon alfa-2b, or pegylated interferon alpha-2a, all are approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
  • Interferon beta-1b (Betaseron) and interferon beta-1a (Avonex) are approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
  • Interferon alfa-n3 (Alferon-N) is approved for the treatment of genital and perianal warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Interferon gamma-1B (Actimmune) is approved for the treatment of chronic granulomatous disease, and severe, malignant osteopetrosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2014


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