Information about the interferons frequently amazes me. I’ve recently come across a couple of abstracts that associate the onset of other “auto-immune” diseases with the initiation and/or continuation of interferon therapy.
Per the first abstract, Arthritis and bursitis in MS Patients treated with interferon-beta
, one of the things that may need to be ruled out if you develop arthritis or bursitis after starting interferons is whether or not the onset of either one may be associated with the initiation/continuation of interferon therapy.
We present the cases of two female patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who developed inflammatory musculoskeletal manifestations, following IFN-beta therapy.
Our literature review revealed an additional six cases of onset of inflammatory arthritis in MS patients receiving IFN-beta.
Per the second abstract, Auto-Immune Thyroid Disorders during Interferon Beta 1-b Treatment
A literature search revealed an 11% (5% clinically overt) overall incidence of de novo thyroid dysfunction in IFN-beta-treated MS patients, mostly autoimmune hyperthyroidism. (Large-scale comparative studies for IFN-beta-1a are not available at present). Specific treatment but not necessarily discontinuation of IFN-beta-1b therapy was required in most cases. Female gender, pre-existing thyroid autoimmunity, and family history of thyroid disorders are presumable risk factors for thyroid dysfunction de novo during IFN-beta-1b treatment.
Maybe those of us on interferons and all the discussion/research about whether or not people with MS have a higher frequency of other “auto-immune” diseases should examine and/or take into account the “interferon” variable, i.e., which came first, the arthritis, the thyroid dysfunction, etc. or the interferon? In any case, since I don’t think I have arthritis yet at my ripe old age if I get it I know where to start looking for the “trigger” since I’m on Avonex.