Vitamin D and chronic hepatitis C: effects on success rate and prevention of side effects associated with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin.Int J Clin Exp Med 2015; 8(7):10284-303IJ
Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is one of the most common causes of liver diseases worldwide, affecting 3% of the world population and 3 to 4 million people acquire new infection annually. Despite the recent introduction of novel antiviral drugs for the treatment of CHC, these drugs are expensive and the access to them is not an option for many patients. Hence, the traditional therapy by pegylated interferon-α (Peg-IFN-α) and ribavirin may still have a role in the clinical management of CHC especially in developing countries. However, this standard therapy is associated with several severe extra-hepatic side effects and the most common adverse events are hematological abnormalities and thyroid disorders and they could result in dose reduction and/or termination of therapy. Vitamin D has been shown to be a key regulatory element of the immune system, and its serum concentrations correlate with the severity of liver damage and the development of liver fibrosis/cirrhosis. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin D with Peg-IFN-α based therapy for the treatment of CHC could be beneficial in increase the response rate to Peg-INF-α based therapy. Vitamin D has also been shown to regulate the thyroid functions and the process of erythropoiesis. This review appraises the data to date researching the role of vitamin D during the treatment of CHC and the potential role of vitamin D in preventing/treating Peg-IFN-α induced thyroiditis and anemia during the course of treatment.