A safer and more efficient medication for Hepatitis B for patients who don't respond to other medications has been developed by researchers from Toronto General Hospital.
During the study Morris Sherman and colleagues found that patients with hepatitis B who did not respond to lamivudine therapy had a better virological response after switching to entecavir drug for a year.
Moreover, continuing the drug for an additional year led to even more clinical improvement without significant side effects.
Hepatitis B patients are at an increased risk of developing serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, especially if they have high levels of HBV DNA in their blood.
Lamivudine is one treatment for HBV, however the virus commonly becomes resistant to it and leads to disease progression.
Adefovir dipivoxil is another treatment option, however virologic suppression is not optimal.
However the third drug, Entecavir, showed safer and effective treatment for patients who don't respond to lamivudine.
The was conducted over 286 patients, who were asked to participate n a double-blind, double-dummy, randomized, controlled trial comparing the safety and efficacy of entecavir (1 mg/day) to lamivudine (100 mg/day).
The results of the first year of this trial were previously reported. 57 percent of patients taking entecavir, compared to five percent of those taking lamivudine were classified as virologic responders, and were offered continued therapy for an additional year.
"The year-two results demonstrated that patients continue to experience clinical benefit with entecavir therapy beyond one year, while the safety profile remained stable," said the authors.
The additional year of treatment increased the proportion of patients with from 21 percent to 40 percent.
The study appears in the July issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley and Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).