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Contraindications

These are the main medical reasons which might disqualify you from treatment. If you suffer from any of the following, your consultant may decide it’s too risky to actually treat you, or if they go ahead that your treatment be monitored very closely.

Contraindications to interferon

  • Heart disease, because interferon can cause arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Cirrhosis, because, in this condition platelet and white blood cell counts tend to be low and interferon can reduce the level further
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or autoimmune hepatitis, because these are caused by an overactive immune system, which interferon would only stimulate further
  • Severe depression or psychosis, which interferon could make worse
  • Some forms of eye disease, as interferon has been known to cause sight problems
  • Organ transplant (except liver transplant) as treatment may cause rejection of the organ

Contraindications to ribavirin

  • Heart disease, because ribavirin’s major side effect, anaemia, can make this worse.
  • Pregnancy, because ribavirin is mutagenic and can cause serious deformities in a foetus.
  • Impaired renal function as ribavirin is excreted via the kidneys