Hepatitis B: FDA Advisers Plug New Drug
September 16, 2002
A failed HIV medication should be used to treat the liver-destroying hepatitis B virus, advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration have concluded. If the FDA agrees and makes the use official, Gilead Science's adefovir will become the first new treatment in years for the estimated 1.2 million Americans with the potentially deadly hepatitis infection. Adefovir, originally tested as a potential treatment for AIDS, can be toxic to the kidneys when used at the high doses needed to treat HIV/AIDS. At lower doses adefovir does not cure the chronic infection of hepatitis B, but studies show that liver cirrhosis, as measured by biopsies, improved in 56-66 percent of patients testing the drug, according to Gilead Vice President John Milligan. FDA advisers recommend that all patients get a blood test to check for kidney damage every month or two for as long as they take the drug. Stopping adefovir at the first sign of kidney damage allows most people to recover but the risk proved greater for more advanced hepatitis patients, according to Debra Birnkrant, FDA antiviral drugs chief.
U.S. Government Panel Backs New Hepatitis Drug; Therapy, Created to Fight AIDS, Works Against Liver Infection
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.