Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is one of the commonest infectious diseases of the liver and may lead to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Combination therapy with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and Ribavirin is the treatment of choice for CHC. Combination therapy is thought to act by means of antiviral mechanisms and immunomodulation. Thyroid dysfunction is the most common autoimmune adverse effect associated with combination therapy; hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism. Antithyroid antibodies and female sex have a predictive value in the development of interferon
induced thyroid disease (IITD). Patients with CHC should be informed of the possibility of side effects on the thyroid gland. Screening for antithyroid antibodies and thyroid function tests should be performed in patients with CHC before the commencement of antiviral treatment, and during and after it. This article reviews different aspects of IITD, including its pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, association with treatment regimens and treatment response and the outcome of thyroid dysfunction.
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