End-stage liver disease and liver transplantation: role of lamivudine therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a common cause of advanced liver disease, including end-stage liver disease. Liver transplantation is generally regarded as the treatment of choice for decompensated cirrhosis. Although long-term prophylaxis with hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIg) has improved significantly the outcome after transplantation, about 20-36% of transplant recipients still develop recurrent hepatitis B and have reduced survival. Moreover, HBIg prophylaxis has a number of disadvantages, including high cost, difficulty in administration and tolerability problems. Lamivudine, an oral nucleoside analogue, is a potent inhibitor of HBV replication and has been investigated in end-stage liver disease and liver transplantation. Treatment with lamivudine results in suppression of viral replication, and clinical improvement and stabilisation of some patients with end-stage liver disease, leading to increased pre-transplant survival as well as a reduced need for transplantation. Prophylaxis with lamivudine is also effective in preventing recurrent HBV infection and graft reinfection after transplantation, although a combination of lamivudine plus HBIg is preferable to prevent the emergence of YMDD variant HBV (tyrosine-methionine-aspartate-aspartate amino acid motif of HBV polymerase). Lamivudine is also effective for the treatment of recurrent hepatitis B after transplantation, based on improvement in virological parameters of infection as well as clinical and histological manifestations of disease. In all of these clinical settings, lamivudine is well tolerated and dose reduction is not required. In conclusion, lamivudine has a potential role for the treatment of patients with hepatitis B-related end-stage liver disease, for prophylaxis in patients undergoing liver transplantation, and in the treatment of recurrent or de novo HBV infection after transplantation.
AuthorsE B Keeffe
JournalJournal of medical virology (J Med Virol) Vol. 61 Issue 3 Pg. 403-8 (Jul 2000) ISSN: 0146-6615 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID10861654 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
CopyrightCopyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Chemical References
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Lamivudine
  • Antiviral Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic (drug therapy, surgery)
  • Humans
  • Lamivudine (therapeutic use)
  • Liver Failure (drug therapy, surgery, virology)
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Treatment Outcome

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