Introduction: In recent years, interferon (IFN) is used in treatment of chronic hepatitis and the studies about the side effects of IFN therapy are increasing.
Objective: We aimed to investigate the effects of IFN therapy on glucose metabolism.
Materials and methods: Study group was consisted with 30 patients who were diagnosed as chronic hepatitis. Sixteen of 30 were chronic hepatitis B and 14 were chronic hepatitis C. Diagnose was confirmed by serology and liver biopsy. Patients with chronic hepatitis B were prescribed alpha-IFN, 910 MU/three times/week and chronic hepatitis C were given alpha-IFN, 3 MU/three times/week, subcutaneously. All patients were evaluated by fasting plasma glucose concentrations (FPG) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at the beginning and and at the 4th week of IFN treatment. Diagnose of impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and diabetes mellitus (DM) was approved by American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria.
Results: The study group was consisted of 16 (53.3%) female and 14 (46.7%) male patients. Mean age was 42±13.67 years. Twenty eight patients had normal FPG concentrations, whereas two had IFG. No patient had DM. Mean FPG concentrations of chronic hepatitis B and C was 91.13±8.25 and 96.5±97.07 mg/dl, respectively. At the 4th week of the therapy, we reevaluated the patients for glucose metabolism. Difference between FPG levels before and after treatment were not statistically significant (93.63±10.54 and 94.33±16.01 mg/dl; P>0.05). However OGTT results were affected by the therapy. Nineteen patients (63.3%) had normal, six had IGT anf 5 had DM. Mean glucose concentrations during initial and second OGTT were 106±26.53 and 132±17 mg/dl respectively (P<0.001).
Conclusion: IFN treatment alteres glucose metabolism. Therefore, patients who had chronic hepatitis and treated with IFN should be followed-up closely for diabetes mellitus during and after the therapy.