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Medical News

Drug Effective for Resistant Hepatitis B

February 6, 2004

When chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) becomes resistant to the standard lamivudine (Epivir) treatment, the antiviral adefovir (Preveon), alone or in combination with ongoing lamivudine therapy, appears to be effective, according to a study in the medical journal Gastroenterology. The rate of lamivudine resistance can reach 69 percent after five years of treatment, Dr. Marion G. Peters and colleagues from the University of California-San Francisco explained in their report. Adefovir has been shown in lab experiments to suppress lamivudine-resistant HBV.

The researchers assessed the safety and effectiveness of adefovir in 59 lamivudine-resistant patients. They found that levels of the virus in blood specimens declined significantly in patients given adefovir alone or in combination with lamivudine, but not in patients taking lamivudine alone.

Sixteen percent of patients taking adefovir alone and 11 percent of patients taking adefovir and lamivudine cleared the virus within 48 weeks. None on lamivudine alone did so.

Peters said there appears to be no reason to continue lamivudine after beginning adefovir therapy in most cases. However, combination therapy should be continued in patients with cirrhosis. The article, "Adefovir Dipivoxil Alone or in Combination with Lamivudine in Patients with Lamivudine-Resistant Chronic Hepatitis B," appeared in Gastroenterology (2004;126(1):91-101).

Back to other news for February 6, 2004

Adapted from:
Reuters Health
01.29.04; Will Boggs, M.D.



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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