Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh:Chronic Hepatitis B is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. Patients are likely to develop serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer, especially if they have high levels of HB virus (HBV) DNA in their blood and Hepatitis B patients who did not respond to the common treatment of lamivudine. A new study has found that another drug called entecavir might produce better and safer results for these patients.
Lamivudine is one treatment for HBV, but the virus commonly becomes resistant and leads to disease progression. Adefovir dipivoxil is another treatment option; however, virologic suppression is not optimal. A third drug, Entecavir, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for patients who don’t respond to lamivudine.
Morris Sherman, Toronto General Hospital, studied 286 patients taking part in a double-blind, double-dummy, randomised, controlled trial comparing the safety and efficacy of entecavir (one mg daily) to lamivudine (100 mg daily). About 57 per cent taking entecavir, compared to five per cent of those taking lamivudine, were classified as virologic responders and were offered continued therapy for an additional year.
The researchers then assessed the efficacy, safety and resistance profile of entecavir through 96 weeks of treatment and Sherman said that the year two results demonstrated that patients continue to experience clinical benefit with entecavir therapy beyond one year, while the safety profile remained stable.
These findings will be published in the July issue of Hepatology.