IFN-alpha has emerged as a promising treatment of chronic viral
hepatitis. Although therapeutic response to IFN is far from
universal, efficacy has been demonstrated; and studies combining
IFN-alpha with other agents, as well as trials with new
preparations of IFN-alpha, are under way. Children do not represent
a large part of the identified population with chronic viral
hepatitis. Yet children, by simple virtue of age, are more recently
infected. In addition, longer life expectancies can be expected to
be associated with greater morbidity from chronic viral hepatitis.
Children seem to tolerate therapy with IFN-alpha well. Treatment of
children with chronic viral hepatitis should be strongly
considered, with protocols designed to ascertain specific pediatric
safety and efficacy.
Author: Jonas MM, Combined Program in Gastroenterology,
Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Source: J Pediatr
Gastroenterol Nutr 23: 93-106 (1996)