Influence of recombinant interferon alpha on nutritional status and growth pattern in children with chronic viral hepatitis

Influence of recombinant interferon alpha on nutritional status and growth pattern in children with chronic viral hepatitis

Anorexia and weight loss are frequently reported as adverse effects during recombinant interferon alpha (rIFN-alpha) treatment. The aim of the present study was to assess both nutritional status and growth of children and adolescents treated with rIFN-alpha for chronic viral hepatitis. Eleven patients aged 4-16 years with histologically proven chronic active hepatitis (hepatitis B, n = 9; hepatitis C, n = 2) receiving rIFN-alpha subcutaneously thrice a week for 6 months were studied. Weight and height increments were assessed during the 6 months before starting rIFN-alpha. Weight and height were measured every 3 months (M0, M3, M6) during the 6 months of rIFN-alpha treatment, then every 6 months during the follow up period (6-36 months). Weight decreased in every child during rIFN-alpha treatment (weight loss varies from 0.5 to 2.6 kg after 3 months of treatment). Weight/age Z-score decreased from 0.12 at M0 to -0.69 at M3 (P < 0.01), then increased between M3 and M6 (-0.33) (P < 0.01), but normalized (0.02) only 6 months after completion of treatment. Nutritional status was significantly impaired during treatment (Z-score for weight/height decreased from 0.18 at M0 to -0.74 at M3, P < 0.01) and recovered progressively thereafter. Height and height velocity were not modified by rIFN-alpha treatment. A reduction of the caloric intake observed between M0 and M3 might explain these features.

CONCLUSION: Significant but transient abnormalities of the nutritional status are encountered constantly at the beginning of rIFN-alpha therapy without any deleterious effect on growth. Information of the families and nutritional intervention during treatment should be required, in order to limit the importance of weight loss.

Author: Gottrand F, Michaud L, Guimber D, Ategbo S, Dubar G, Turck D, Farriaux JP, Service de Pediatrie, Hopital Huriez, CHRU de Lille, France. Source: Eur J Pediatr 155: 1031-1034 (1996)

 

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