Interferon-alpha for viral hepatitis

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)

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