Peginterferon for chronic hepatitis C in children affects growth and body composition: Results from the pediatric study of hepatitis C (PEDS-C) Trial

Hepatology, 05/04/2012

PEG–IFN α2a was associated with significant changes in body weight, linear growth, body mass index and body composition in children. These effects were generally reversible with cessation of therapy, although height–for–age z scores had not returned to baseline after 2 years of observation in many. Longer term growth data are needed among children treated for chronic HCV.

Methods

  • Children treated with PEG-IFN α2a +/- ribavirin in the PEDS-C trial underwent anthropometric measurements, DXA scan, dietary and activity assessments during and after treatment.

Results

  • 114 (55% male) children mean age 11±3 years were randomized, and 107 received treatment for at least 24 weeks.
  • Subjects were divided into 3 groups according to duration of treatment: 24 (N=14), 48 (N=82), or 72 (N=11) weeks.
  • Decrements of up to 0.50 z score were observed for weight, height and BMI while on therapy among all groups (P ≤0.01 compared to baseline).
  • In the group treated for 48 weeks, 29 (33%) subjects had greater than 0.5 unit decrement in height-for-age Z score.
  • While weight-for-age and BMI z scores returned to baseline after cessation of therapy, mean HAZ score was slower to rebound, still lower than baseline at 96 weeks post-therapy for the long treatment duration group (P=0.03) and lower than baseline in most children treated for 48 weeks.
  • Percent body fat, fat-free mass z scores and triceps skinfold z scores decreased with therapy.
  • Dietary energy intake and levels of physical activity did not change during treatment.

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