Systematic review of acute pancreatitis associated with interferon-α or pegylated interferon-α: Possible or definitive causation?

Fateh Bazerbachi, Samir Haffar, Mohammad Tahir Hussain, Eric J. Vargas, Kymberly D. Watt, M. Hassan Murad, Suresh Chari, Barham K. Abu Dayyeh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Acute pancreatitis (AP) associated with interferon-α or pegylated interferon-α (AP-IFN) has been described, although the causal relation certitude remains elusive. Some recent studies suggest definite causality, although the relation is grouped in class III of Badalov classification of drug-induced AP. Objectives: Perform systematic review of AP-IFN and assess causality. Methods: Two reviewers independently evaluated the data and quality of studies extracted from multiple databases on March 13, 2017. Studies selection was based on a priori criteria. Naranjo scale, and Badalov classification were applied to determine causality. Results: We identified 16 studies that reported AP-IFN with a total of 23 patients. Fifteen studies had moderate to good methodological quality. The frequency of AP-IFN was 7/3450 (0.2%). The median age of patients was 50 years. In most cases IFN was used for chronic hepatitis C. The latency between IFN and diagnosis of AP was (>30 days). AP was mild or moderately severe and improved with supportive management. No mortality was observed. Re-challenge was done in 5 patients and resulted in AP recurrence in 3 cases. Twenty-one cases were classified as probable and 2 cases as definitive according to Naranjo scale. Evaluations of studies confirm a status Ia for AP-IFN according to Badalov classification. Conclusion: AP-IFN is rare and has a probable or definite causal relation according to Naranjo scale. The evidence supports a class Ia of Badalov classification. Hypertriglyceridemia is not a contributing factor. IFN-induced AP is usually mild or moderately severe, and responds favorably to supportive management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Human
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Pegylated interferon-alpha
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology


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