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Is diabetes ever associated with Hepatitis C? A friend had diabetes diagnosed at about 45 yrs old and then Hepatitis C with interferon for awhile. Feels they are related.

There's a letter in The Lancet (Jan 22 94, page 244), discussing a patient in which there was an exacerbation of Type 2 diabetes while receiving interferon-alpha therapy for chronic hepatitis B. Not exactly the same situation as your friend, but overall, a similar story.

Several other articles (The Lancet, May 7, 94, pages 1167-8 for one) associate the use of interferon with the development of Type 1 diabetes. These authors suggest that interferon would induce some of the body's immune cells to attack the pancreatic beta cells, and thereby lead to the development of diabetes, especially in people who are genetically predisposed to get diabetes anyway.

So, it seems that it's the interferon, not the disease being treated, that might cause the diabetes to show up.

Original posting 19 Mar 96


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