Nanocarriers for Drug Targeting to Macrophages: Emerging Options for a Therapeutic Need
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are important causes of chronic liver disease in children and adolescents, and later on for potential cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma. The risk of developing chronic hepatitis B (HB) infection ranges from 90% in neonates to <5% in adults. Hepatitis C induces chronic infection in at least 85% of affected persons. HBV and HCV associated liver damage appears to be less severe in children than in adults. At the present time, lamivudine and a combination of interferon and lamivudine seem to be the best options for HB infection treatment in the pediatric population, even though they induce the presence of drug-resistant mutations, and new therapies have to be developed to improve reduction and cessation of viral replication and decrease the emergence of mutations. Therapy with interferon and ribavirin seems to offer the best results for children and adolescents. Results from a study on pegylated interferon in a pediatric population might lead to better therapeutic responses. Cost of treatment for chronic viral hepatitis is very high and efforts have to continue to extend hepatitis B vaccination to the general population worldwide to reduce vertical and horizontal transmission of hepatitis C.