Neutralizing antibodies (NABs) may be a problem if a person does not improve on interferon, or is not experiencing any flu-like symptoms or side effects (indicating that there is less free interferon floating around to do its main job). Research is ongoing in this area, as there are still many unsolved mysteries.
Talk to your doctor. If both you and your doctor feel that you are not responding well to treatment, and if you have been taking interferon for more than one year, your blood can be tested for NABs. Check with your doctor to see if this test can be done at a laboratory in your area. If you are responding well to your treatment, there may not be a need for testing. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about NABs and how they may affect the effectiveness of your treatment. Your doctor can help you decide if your treatment plan should be changed. Determining the best treatment plan depends on many factors, including NAB production, side effects, and the general effectiveness of your treatment in helping to relieve your symptoms.
If you are tested for blood levels of NABs, keep in mind that antibody levels fluctuate widely over time in the same person. Usually, two positive antibody tests are required to confirm a diagnosis. NABs may disappear completely after 10 years of treatment. Results can differ significantly between laboratories, and your doctor or specialist will interpret the results, particularly because definite guidelines do not yet exist to classify high and low levels of NABs.
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