More people respond to telbivudine compared to lamivudine, study finds
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that a newer medication approved for treating hepatitis B is more effective than the standard treatment, lamivudine.
Additionally, the Chinese scientists found that a significantly smaller number of people developed resistance to the newer drug, known as telbivudine (Tyzeka, Sebivo).
The study, which is published in the Dec. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that about 8 percent more people responded to telbivudine than lamivudine, and the risk of resistance was at least halved for people taking telbivudine.
"The multiple therapeutic choices now available for hepatitis B will enhance the ability of clinicians to maintain long-term control of HBV replication, ultimately improving clinical outcomes for more patients. These results support telbivudine as an effective therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis B," the study authors wrote.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It can be spread in many ways, including through the exchange of blood and other bodily fluids when having sex, from sharing needles, or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As many as one third of people infected have no symptoms, according to the CDC. When symptoms do occur, they may include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and joint pain. For most people, the infection is transient, lasting no more than six months or so. However, the infection can become chronic. This occurs in only about 6 percent of people over 5 who are infected with the hepatitis B virus, in about 30 percent of infected children between 1 and 5 years old, and in as many as 90 percent of babies who are infected with the virus. Chronic hepatitis B can cause scarring of t
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