Journal List > Korean J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr > v.2(2) > 1110601

Korean J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1999 Sep;2(2):169-177. Korean.
Published online Sep 30, 1999.
Copyright © 1999 The Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Therapeutic Efficacy of Prednisolone Withdrawal Followed by Recombinant alpha Interferon in Children with Chronic Hepatitis B
Na Eun Ryu, Byung Ju Kim, Jae Sook Ma and Tai Ju Hwang
Departement of Pediatrics, Chonnam University Medical School, Kwangju, Korea.


To evaluate the efficacy of interferon alpha therapy with or without prednisolone in children with chronic hepatitis B.


Twenty-eight children (22 boys, 6 girls, mean age 130 months) had seropositive results for HBsAg, HBeAg and HBV DNA; 11 had chronic persistent hepatitis and 17 had chronic active hepatitis. The patients were divided into two groups depending upon their inflammatory activity on liver biopsy, pretreatment serum ALT levels and HBV DNA levels. Fourteen children (group 1: chronic active hepatitis, ALT > or = 100 IU/L and HBV DNA < or = 100 pg/300 microliter) received interferon alpha 2a 5 MU/m2 of body surface three times weekly for 6 months. Fourteen children (group 2: chronic persistent hepatitis or chronic active hepatitis with ALT < 100 IU/L or HBV DNA > 100 pg/300 microliter) received prednisolone in decreasing daily doses of 60 mg/m2, 40 mg/m2, and 20 mg/m2, each for 2 weeks, followed after 2 weeks by interferon alpha 2a on the same schedule. At the end of therapy, 3 end points were analyzed: HBeAg seroconversion, serum ALT normalization rate and clearance of serum HBV DNA.


At the end of treatment, HBe antigen-to antibody seroconversion was higher but not more significant in group 1 than group 2 (71.4% vs. 50.0%). Only one patient in group 2 who lost HBeAg, also cleared HBsAg. ALT normalization was similar in both groups (64.3% in group 1 vs. 55.6% in group 2). Clearance of serum HBV DNA was observed in 78.6% of patients in group 1 and 64.3% in group 2, but no significant differences. Complete response was similarly achieved in both groups (57.1% in group 1 vs. 50.0% in group 2). Interferon alpha therapy with prednisolone priming was well tolerated and all children finished therapy.


The combined therapy with prednisolone followed by interferon alpha may be safe and effective in inducing a serological and biochemical remission of the disease in approximately 50% of children with chronic hepatitis B and with a high level of viral replication and less active disease. However, a controlled study should be performed to confirm these results.

Keywords: Chronic hepatitis B; Interferon; Prednisolone; Children