Interferon Side Effects Part 3

If youve been reading this series of articles, you know some of the side effects that interferon injections may have on the body and mind. In this article, well continue our series of solutions to the side effects that interferon injections may cause.

Skin Irritation

Since interferon is administered via the use of regular injections, some may experience problems in the area of the body where the interferon is being injected. Red, itchy areas may appear around where you get the injections, and although they fade over the course of a week or so, there are a few methods of lessening the annoyance that they cause.

Placing a cold towel or ice pack on the area can cause the itch and the blotchiness to go away to some degree. To deal with the itching, hydrocortisone cream may be of merit. If the blotchy areas continue to appear, you may want to consider changing where you are getting the injections administered to see if the problem exists in the new area.


Shortness of breath is another problem that one may experience when they are undergoing interferon injections. Its usually caused by a low number of red blood cells throughout the body, and it can be a very scary experience. When it occurs, be sure to note exactly what circumstances were around the situation. If the problem seems serious, you may want to speak to a doctor to ensure that it isnt an issue with a heart problem or the lungs.

Thyroid Problems

Interferon also may cause the thyroid to either go into a period of over-production or under-production. The thyroid controls many of the bodys basic functions, including the desire for food, your body weight, how much energy you have, and your ability to concentrate. This can cause you to feel very weird, and you may feel without energy, depressed, or unable to maintain an appetite.

Its important to remember that these effects are most often merely a side-effect of the therapy. If the changes that you are feeling are of concern to you, you may want to discuss them with your doctor. If the doctor thinks that a thyroid problem may be to blame, they can conduct blood tests in order to determine if that is the cause.

Opportunistic Infections

White blood cells are the infection-fighting entities of the body. Interferon injections may cause your body to be unable to produce white blood cells as readily as it should. For that reason, you may be more susceptible to infection when on interferon. Be sure that your doctor counts your white blood cells when you visit, and if your level of white blood cells is significantly low, a medication can be prescribed to increase your count. Low platelets may also be present due to interferon treatment, which help the body to perform blood clotting. That can result in nosebleeds and bruising occurring more often. Be sure to have your doctor monitor your platelet levels.

These are just a few of the problems that one may have when undergoing interferon therapy. To read about more side-effects and what to do when they occur, check out the other articles in this series.