Treatment options for chronic hepatitis B and C infection in children

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

There has been a dramatic increase in treatment options for both chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection in adults over the past 5–10 years, resulting in standardized regimes for initial treatment, relapsers and even infection in the setting of recurrence post-liver transplantation. These regimes have resulted in the halting of the disease progression, reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and removal of these infections as a contraindication for liver transplantation. However, treatment in children must be considered carefully in the context of the natural history of these infections and host factors, particularly the immunological mileu, which may affect response to therapy. The as yet unknown long-term effects of medications must also be balanced with the probability of significant life-long morbidity or mortality from chronic hepatitis and its complications. Furthermore, the development of drug resistance, particularly in the case of CHB, has significant implications for the pediatric patient who may exhaust effective therapeutic options at a relatively young age. For these reasons, initiation of therapy must be based on sound criteria. Based on the current data, we recommend that therapy should be offered to children with CHB who have an elevation in alanine aminotransferase (>2–3 × upper limit of normal) for more than 6 months. Therapy with interferon-α should be offered in the majority of cases with the aim of immune clearance as measured by early antigen seroconversion. By contrast, treatment indication for CHC in children remains controversial. If used, combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin is likely to produce the highest rates of sustained viral response.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles