Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Children: A Position Paper by the Hepatology Committee of European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

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Objectives:In 2017, the European Medicines Agency and the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the fixed-dose combination of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir and of the combination of sofosbuvir and ribavirin for treatment of adolescents (12–17 years or weighing >35 kg) with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 4, 5, and 6 and genotype 2 and 3 infections, respectively. Although trials with direct-acting antivirals are ongoing for younger children, the only available treatment in the United States and Europe for those <12 years is still the dual therapy of pegylated interferon and ribavirin. There is currently a lack of a systematic approach to the care of these patients. The Hepatology Committee of the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition developed an evidence-based position paper for the management of chronic HCV infection in children.Methods:A systematic literature search and meta-analysis were performed using MEDLINE and Embase from June 1, 2007 to June 1, 2017. The approach of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation was applied to evaluate outcomes. European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee members voted on each recommendation, using the nominal voting technique.Results:The efficacy of the different direct-acting antivirals combinations tested was higher, the relapse and the treatment discontinuation rates lower when compared to pegylated interferon and ribavirin.Conclusions:This position paper addresses therapeutic management issues including goals, endpoints, indications, contraindications, and the optimal treatment regimen in children with chronic HCV infection.

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