The drug Hepsera® (adefovir dipivoxil) is an effective treatment by itself or in combination with the drug lamivudine for difficult-to-treat cases of hepatitis B, according to a study reported in the January issue of Gastroenterology.
Researchers studied the safety and effectiveness of Hepsera alone and in combination with lamivudine in 59 hepatitis B e antigen-positive patients with lamivudine-resistant hepatitis B.
The patients also had serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels that were at least 1.2 times the upper limit of normal and serum hepatitis B DNA levels that were greater than 6 log(10) copies/mL despite ongoing treatment with lamivudine. The participants received daily doses of either Hepsera, lamivudine or a combination of the two.
All of the participants who received Hepsera experienced rapid reductions in their hepatitis B virus DNA levels by the fourth week of treatment, according to the researchers.
The researchers noted that ALT levels normalized in 53 percent of the recipients of the combined treatment and 47 percent of recipients of Hepsera alone.
The researchers concluded that Hepsera alone or in combination with ongoing lamivudine therapy provides effective antiviral therapy in patients with lamivudine-resistant hepatitis B virus.
Gastroenterology. 2004 Jan;126(1):91-101