Table 4

 Common side effects (>20% of patients) recorded in major pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN)/ribavirin trials16,19,20

Side effectIncidence with PEG-IFN alpha and ribavirin16,19,20 (%)
The incidence of side effects between different studies is difficult to compare as the studies had significant differences in genetic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, there were methodological differences in assessing the side effects. Patients were selected on the basis of well defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Normal thyroid stimulating hormone levels pretreatment were a prerequisite.
Headache47–62
Pyrexia40–46
Myalgia37–56
Rigors24–48
Arthralgia24–34
Nausea35–43
Loss of appetite21
Weight loss29
Diarrhoea22
Alopecia21–36
Rash/dermatitis20–24
Injection site inflammation25
Pruritus25–29
Dyspnoea26
Fatigue48–64
Insomnia33–40
Irritability24–35
Depression22–31