Parkinsonism in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Treated With Interferons
Clinical Neuropharmacology, January 2016
Wangensteen, Kirk J., Krawitt, Edward L., Hamill, Robert W., Boyd, James T.
Interferons are a set of cytokines that activate antiviral responses by the body's immune cells and have been a mainstay of treatment of hepatitis C. Well-known neuropsychiatric effects of interferons include depression, irritability, and impaired concentration. A condition reported rarely in association with this treatment is parkinsonism. We report 2 patients who developed parkinsonism in conjunction with treatment of hepatitis C with alpha interferons. The first is a 51-year-old man who developed intermittent rest and postural tremor during treatment with pegylated interferon alpha ribavirin, and amantadine, with resolution of the symptoms after completing a 36-week course. Similar tremor recurred 3 years later with progressive parkinsonism, compatible with Parkinson disease (PD). The second patient is a 71-year-old man who developed postural tremor 8 weeks into a regimen of consensus interferon. Tremor resolved at completion of 48 weeks of interferon. Pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin were started 2 years later because of lack of sustained virologic response. At 24 weeks of treatment, postural tremor returned along with features and a progressive course compatible with PD. Thus, both patients presented here developed (rest and/or postural) tremor during interferon therapy followed by delayed onset of parkinsonism. We identified 10 other cases in the literature of parkinsonism/PD associated with interferon administration. This report reviews the clinical presentation and potential pathophysiological mechanisms and recommends that physicians who prescribe interferon be vigilant for symptoms of PD in their patients.
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