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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2000 Jan;19(1):52-6.

Comparison of standard and high dosage recombinant interferon alpha 2b for treatment of children with chronic hepatitis B infection.

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Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Interferon is currently the most useful therapeutic agent for chronic viral hepatitis. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of standard and high dosages of interferon in children with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.


Thirty children with chronic hepatitis B infection were randomly assigned to receive 5 million units/m2 body surface area (Group I) or 10 million units/m2 body surface area (Group II) recombinant interferon alpha 2b three times weekly for 6 months. Patients were followed for at least 6 months (range, 6 to 18; median, 9 months) after the end of therapy, by physical and serologic examination every 3 months.


Clearance of HBV DNA occurred in 4 (27%) patients from Group I and 9 (60%) patients from Group II at the end of therapy. Hepatitis B e antigen (HbeAg) clearance was 7% (1 patient) and 53% (8 patients) in the two groups, respectively (P < 0.05). HBV DNA was undetectable in 40 and 60% of the children at the 12th month of randomization in Groups I and II, respectively. HBeAg/antibody to HBeAg seroconversion was found in 33% (5 patients) who received standard dosage and 60% (9 patients) in the high dosage group. Sustained complete response (normal alanine aminotransferase, negative HBeAg and HBV DNA at 12th month) was obtained in 5 and 9 patients respectively from groups I and II (P > 0.05). Only mean baseline serum alanine amino-transferase concentrations were predictive of response to interferon.


A 6-month course of interferon alpha 2b in children with chronic HBV disease was well-tolerated by most patients. Sustained suppression of HBV was obtained in 60% of patients with high dosage interferon and in 33% of the patients receiving standard dosage. Although these results were not statistically significant, studies with more patients are needed to ascertain whether high dosage improves the response rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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