, Volume 155, Issue 12, pp 1031-1034

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

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



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.


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.