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Hepatitis B

EASL 2010: HBV DNA and HBsAg Levels Predict Likelihood of Sustained Response to Pegylated Interferon for Hepatitis B

Decreases in levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) while receiving treatment with pegylated interferon can help predict which hepatitis B "e" antigen (HBeAg) negative patients will ultimately achieve a sustained response, according to presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL 2010) this month in Vienna. Investigators recommended that people who do not experience adequate decreases in these levels by week 12 should discontinue therapy.

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EASL 2010: Tenofovir (Viread) Demonstrates High Barrier to Resistance over 3 Years in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients

No participants taking tenofovir (Viread) to treat chronic hepatitis B developed drug resistance through 144 weeks in 2 Phase 3 studies, according to a poster presentation last week at the 45th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL 2010) in Vienna. Researchers also reported that among patients who still had detectable HBV DNA at week 72, adding emtricitabine (Emtriva) did not reduce viral load more than tenofovir alone.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine May Perform Better than Interferon or Lamivudine for Chronic Hepatitis B

Various traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formulations were found to work as well as or better than the pharmaceutical drugs interferon and lamivudine for people with chronic hepatitis B, according to a joint U.S./Chinese review of clinical trials published in the February 2010 issue of Hepatology. While many of these studies were considered to be of poor quality according to Western drug testing standards, the review authors concluded that some TCM remedies appear effective and warrant further study.

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EASL 2010: Tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada) Prevents Hepatitis B Recurrence after Liver Transplantation in Patients with Mild Kidney Impairment

Combination therapy using tenofovir (Viread) plus emtricitabine (Emtriva) -- the 2 drugs in the Truvada coformulation -- either with or without injected hepatitis B virus (HBV) antibodies, was well tolerated and prevented HBV recurrence in chronic hepatitis B patients with mild-to-moderate kidney (renal) impairment who underwent liver transplantation, according to a study presented last week at the 45th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL 2010) in Vienna.

Entecavir (Baraclude) Works Well in Patients with Adefovir-resistant Hepatitis B, but Lamivudine Resistance Compromises Efficacy

The nucleoside analog entecavir (Baraclude) worked well in previously untreated chronic hepatitis B patients and in people who had developed resistance to the nucleotide analog adefovir (Hepsera), but did not perform well in people with resistance to lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) according to a European study described in the April 2010 Journal of Hepatology. Among patients who developed resistance to entecavir, tenofovir (Viread) remained an effective option.

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EASL 2010: World Hepatitis Alliance Releases Major Report on Viral Hepatitis Policy at EASL Meeting

In conjunction with the 45th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL 2010) last week in Vienna, the World Hepatitis Alliance released its first major policy report on viral hepatitis, focusing on hepatitis B and C. Based on research commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), the report describes global responses to the urgent public health issue of viral hepatitis, finding that many counties lack national prevention and management policies even though 10 times more people have hepatitis B and C than HIV/AIDS.

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Appetite-regulating Hormone Ghrelin May Inhibit Inflammation and Liver Fibrosis

Ghrelin, an appetite-regulating hormone produced primarily in the stomach, reduced liver fibrosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress in rats and protected them from both chronic and acute liver injury, according to a study published in the March 2010 issue of Hepatology. Researchers also found that ghrelin levels were lower in chronic hepatitis patients with advanced fibrosis. If confirmed in future studies, ghrelin may have potential as an anti-fibrotic therapy.

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Many U.S. Babies Do Not Receive Recommended Therapy to Prevent Hepatitis B Infection

About 14% of babies born to mothers with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and about 20% born to women of unknown HBV status in the U.S. do not receive recommended vaccinations or other therapies to prevent them from acquiring the virus, according to a CDC analysis of practices at more than 200 hospitals described in the April 2010 issue of Pediatrics.

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Boys with Chronic Hepatitis B May Experience HBeAg Seroconversion and Reduced HBV Viral Load at Puberty

Boys with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may experience hepatitis B "e" antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion and see a reduction in HBV DNA levels when they reach puberty, according to a study published in the March 2010 issue of Gastroenterology. These findings shed further light on sex differences in the natural history of hepatitis B.

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