Pediatric hepatitis C infection: to treat or not to treat... what's the best for the child?

D. Serranti, Piero Valentini, M. Ceccarelli, Danilo Buonsenso, L. Gargiullo, Orazio Ranno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Pediatric hepatitis C mainly occurs through mother to child transmission, to date. Children usually present a mild disease, but they are not spared from its long-term complications. Thus this infection cannot be underestimated in children and intervention is necessary. Current treatment is based on the administration of pegylated-interferon associated with ribavirin, but few studies evaluated the efficacy and safety of this therapeutic protocol. Moreover, there is still no clarity on who, when and how to treat pediatric patients. This article, based on the information in literature, provides an overview of the main aspects of the disease, with particular attention to treatment. METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS: We describe the different treatment options available. About the association peginterferon plus ribavirin, we analyze thirteen non-randomized studies and one trial, found in recent literature. These studies are not directly compared because of differences in age, type of infection (vertical or not), viral genotypes and duration of treatment, between groups enrolled. The overall sustained viral response rate ranges from 28.6% to 81.8%. The rate of treatment success is higher in children infected with genotypes 2 and 3 than with other genotypes. The therapy does not induce severe adverse effects and children present better tolerance to antiviral than adults. CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacological efficacy of peginterferon and ribavirin seems to be proven by data collected in studies cited, but there are different opinions about who, when and how to treat children infected. Thus, further research is needed to define the best management of vertical acquired hepatitis C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1067
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • hepatitis C


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