Alfa-interferon is a medication widely used to treat infections and cancer. This medication is also used to treat chronic Hepatitis C. It also happens that the medication Interferon can also trigger an auto-immune thyroid disease. So patients with Hepatitis C virus who are already pre-disposed to having an auto immune thyroid disease and are taking Alpha-Interferon are at higher risk of having an auto-immune thyroid condition.
Thyroid Disease: Dr. Val Jones
May/June 2010 - Volume 20 - Issue 3 - pp 122-124
Santos, Sandra Regina Xavier MD*; Ferreira, Marcelo Simão PhD†; Borges, Aércio Sebastião MD†; de Melo Costa Pinto, Rogério PhD‡; Pereira Mendonça Fernandes, Maria Luiza MD*; Jorge, Paulo Tannús PhD*
α-interferon and ribavirin are the drugs of choice for treating Hepatitis C, but may trigger thyroid disorders as a major complication. Several studies have shown a variation in the prevalence (1%–35%) of this association influenced by geographical distribution, genetics, and iodine intake of the population.
Hypothyroidism has been linked to chronic liver diseases and implicated in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is considered a predisposing condition for liver cancer.
This may result from the essential role of thyroid hormones in lipid mobilization and degradation and fatty acid oxidation, Dr. Hassan's group said. When they're out of balance, "all of these conditions may enhance the susceptibility to chronic inflammation, DNA damage, and hepatocellular carcinoma development."
"The thyroid hormone is one of many necessary hormones for men's health. Although the majority of information regarding thyroid health is focused on women, men also suffer from thyroid dysfunction and the associated symptoms".