, Volume 155, Issue 12, pp 1031-1034

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

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Abstract

Abstract

Anorexia and weight loss are frequently reported as adverse effects during recombinant interferon α (rIFN-α) treatment. The aim of the present study was to assess both nutritional status and growth of children and adolescents treated with rIFN-α 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-α subcutaneously thrice a week for 6 months were studied. Weight and height increments were assessed during the 6 months before starting iIFN-α. Weight and height were measured every 3 months (M0, M3, M6) during the 6 months of rIFN-α treatment, then every 6 months during the follow up period (6–36 months). Weight decreased in every child during rIFN-α 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-α 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-α 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.