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Haber, Barbara; Alonso, Estella; Pedreira, Alejandra; Rodriguez-Baez, Norberto; Ciocca, Mirta; Lacaille, Florence; Lang, Thomas; Gonzalez, Teresita; Goodman, Zachary; Yang, Zijiang; Jackson, Beth; Noviello, Stephanie; Albrecht, Janice K. (2017): Long-Term Follow-Up of Children Treated With Peginterferon and Ribavirin for Hepatitis C Virus Infection. In: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Vol. 64, No. 1: pp. 89-94


Objectives: The aim of the study was to describe the 5-year follow-up of children who received peginterferon and ribavirin in a global, open-label study. Methods: A 5-year follow-up study of 107 children and adolescents ages 3 to 17 years with chronic hepatitis C virus infection who received peginterferon and ribavirin for 24 or 48 weeks. No drugs were administered during follow-up. Results: Ninety-four patients were enrolled in the long-term follow-up portion of the study;the median duration of follow-up was 287 weeks (range, 73-339). Of 63 patients with sustained virologic response who were enrolled, 54 completed 5 years of follow-up;none had relapse in the 5-year follow-up period. Significant decreases in height z scores were observed during treatment. The effect of treatment on height z score was larger in patients treated for 48 weeks compared with those treated for 24 weeks (mean change from baseline to the end of treatment was -0.13 [P < 0.001] and -0.44 [P < 0.001] in the 247 and 48-week treatment groups, respectively). Among patients treated for 24 weeks, full recovery of height z scores to baseline was observed by 1 year of follow-up, whereas only partial recovery was observed during 5 years of follow-up in patients treated for 48 weeks (mean change from baseline to the final follow-up visit was -0.16 (P=NS) and 0.32 (P < 0.05) in the 24- and 48-week treatment groups, respectively). Similar patterns were observed for weight and body mass index z scores. Conclusions: Impairment of growth should be considered when assessing the risk-benefit profile of peginterferon/ribavirin therapy in children with hepatitis C virus infection. In deciding to treat children with chronic hepatitis C virus, considerations should include both deferring treatment in patients during optimal growth periods, and the possibility that interferon free regimens may be available to children in the next 5 to 10 years.