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Chronic hepatitis C virus infection in children and adolescents: Epidemiology, natural history, and assessment of the safety and efficacy of combination therapy

Authors Indolfi G, Bartolini E, Casavola D, Resti M

Published 5 October 2010 Volume 2010:1 Pages 115—128


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Giuseppe Indolfi, Elisa Bartolini, Davide Casavola, Massimo Resti
Department of Sciences for Women and Child’s Health, Liver and Pediatric Unit, Anna Meyer Children’s Hospital, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

Abstract: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease of infectious etiology in children. Most of the children infected with HCV are asymptomatic, and only a few of them develop signs and symptoms of end-stage liver disease early in life. It is not possible to predict either in which patients HCV infection will have a bad outcome or the critical time in early adulthood when disease progression will accelerate. The experiences with therapy in children with chronic hepatitis C are based on earlier and continuing data from adult trials. The currently recommended treatment for chronic HCV infection in adults is the combination of peginterferon-a and ribavirin. The choice of this regimen is based on the results of randomized clinical trials that demonstrated the superiority of this combination treatment over standard interferon-a and ribavirin. Recently, results of pivotal, multicenter, interventional open-label studies on combined treatment with peginterferon-a and ribavirin in children have been published, and the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have approved the combination therapy in those older than 3 years. The aim of this review is to evaluate critically the available data regarding the safety and efficacy of combination treatment with peginterferon-a and ribavirin in children.

Keywords: treatment, peginterferon, ribavirin, adverse events, sustained viral response

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