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April 14, 1989

Exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis After the Administration of Recombinant Human Interferon Alfa

JAMA. 1989;261(14):2065. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420140067021

To the Editor.—  Interferons appear to have varying effects on multiple sclerosis according to their major types, designated as alfa, beta, or gamma. The administration of interferon alfa for systemic effect1 and the intrathecal administration of interferon beta2 have been reported to reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations of multiple sclerosis, possibly because of antiviral properties. In contrast, the disease is exacerbated by administration of interferon gamma, hypothetically because this compound may potentiate immune response.3Contrary to a previous report,1 we observed a patient in whom acute exacerbation of multiple sclerosis developed after he received interferon alfa (interferon alfa-2b [Intron A]) for chronic active non-A, non-B hepatitis.

Report of a Case.—  A 38-year-old man was included in a clinical trial assessing the effect of interferon alfa on chronic active non-A, non-B hepatitis in March 1988. The patient had been suffering from multiple sclerosis since 1976.