A protein produced naturally by body cells in response to viral infections and other stimuli. It inhibits viral multiplication and increases the activity of natural killer cells (a type of lymphocyte that forms part of the body’s immune system). It is also produced artificially for use in treatment of a number of disorders. There are 3 main types: interferon alfa is used in the treatment of certain lymphomas, a type of leukaemia, and chronic hepatitis B and C. Interferon beta is used in the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis. Interferon gamma is used to reduce the risk of serious infections in some types of immunodeficiency. Adverse reactions include fever, headaches, lethargy, depression, and dizziness.


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