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Long-term treatment with interferon-β therapy for multiple sclerosis and occurrence of Graves’ disease

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Interferon (IFN)-β has become a widespread therapy for multiple sclerosis. As already reported for IFN-α, thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunctions have been observed also in course of IFN-β therapy. Nevertheless, very few cases of Graves’ disease, occurred in such condition, have been reported in literature. We here describe the case of a 40-year-old female affected by multiple sclerosis, who received IFN-β-1b, 8 million IU sc every other day for her condition. After 22 months of cytokine administration, she developed a severe Graves’ disease with persistently positive TRAb which suggested the withdrawal of the treatment. Our patient had performed a complete thyroid evaluation with normal findings, before and during the first 6 months of therapy. This case suggests that patients undergoing long-term IFN-β therapy should be monitored for thyroid hormones and antibodies throughout the treatment as thyroidal side effect can be a late event.

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Rotondi, M., Mazziotti, G., Biondi, B. et al. Long-term treatment with interferon-β therapy for multiple sclerosis and occurrence of Graves’ disease. J Endocrinol Invest 23, 321–324 (2000).

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