The drug Hepsera® (adefovir dipivoxil) appears to benefit hepatitis B patients with severe liver disease who have developed a resistance to treatment with Epivir® ( lamivudine), according to a study reported in the December issue of the journal Hepatology.
The study involved 324 hepatitis B patients who were either scheduled to receive a liver transplant or had already received one and who had failed to respond to treatment with lamivudine.
After being treated with 10 milligrams daily of Hepsera for varying periods of time, the participants experienced a significant decrease of viral load, according to the researchers.
In patients who received 48 weeks of therapy with Hepsera, 81percent in the pre-liver transplantation group and 34 percent in the post-liver transplantation groups achieved undetectable levels of serum hepatitis B virus DNA.
Liver function also improved in more than 90 percent of patients in both groups. The one-year survival rate was 84 percent and 93 percent in the pre- and post-transplantation groups, respectively. No resistance to Hepsera was detected after 48 weeks of therapy.
Side effects experienced by those receiving Hepsera were mild to moderate.
"The results of this large study clearly show the clinical benefit of adefovir dipivoxil administration in the life-threatening situation of lamivudine resistance in pre- and post-liver transplantation settings," concluded the researchers.
Other sources: Hepatology 2003;38:1428-1436