Interferon-associated retinopathy during the treatment of chronic hepatitis C: a systematic review

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Abstract

The incidence of retinopathy in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with interferon-based regimens has been variably reported in the literature. There is no consensus regarding ophthalmologic screening before and during treatment with interferon-based therapy. To assess the incidence of retinopathy in patients with chronic hepatitis C being treated with interferon-based regimens and estimate the rate of resolution. A systematic literature search was performed to locate all relevant publications. Pooled incidence of retinopathy was calculated in patients treated with interferon or pegylated interferon. We also estimated the rate of discontinuation of treatment and resolution after the treatment was stopped. A total of 21 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The overall incidence of retinopathy using random effect model was 27.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 20.9–34.5%). The pooled incidence of retinopathy in 10 studies that only used pegylated interferon was 20.9% (95% CI: 11.6–29.8). The incidence of retinopathy with pegylated interferon in diabetic and hypertensive patients (high-risk group) was 65.32% and 50.7%, respectively. This was significantly higher compared with the incidence of retinopathy (11.7%) in patients without these risk factors. Overall pooled estimate for the resolution of retinopathy was 87% (95% CI 75.7–98.4%). The rate of discontinuation of treatment was 6.3%. The incidence of retinopathy with pegylated interferon in patients without hypertension and diabetes is low, but the risk is higher in patients with diabetes and hypertension. Routine pretreatment fundoscopic screening may not be warranted in all patients and can be limited to the patients with these risk factors.

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