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Standard Hepatitis B Treatment Bested by Newcomer
Date:12/19/2007

percent of HBeAg-positive people taking telbivudine and in 11 percent of those on lamivudine. For those who were HBeAg-negative, the rates of resistance were 2.3 percent for those on telbivudine and 10.7 percent for those on lamivudine.

According to the study's authors, both medications have a similar side effect profile, and no significant differences were found in the current study volunteers.

"Telbivudine seems to work and be safe. It seems to have shown a better therapeutic and histological response," said Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist at New York University Medical Center.

"It decreases the risk of cirrhosis. It's well-tolerated, and it prevents the progression of hepatitis B better than the standard treatment right now," said Siegel.

The study authors pointed out that telbivudine hasn't yet been compared to the other new hepatitis B medication, entecavir, in a randomized clinical trial. Entecavir has also been shown to be more effective than lamivudine and creates less resistance as well.

More information

To learn more about available treatments for hepatitis B, visit the Hepatitis B Foundation.



SOURCES: Marc Siegel, M.D., internist, New York University Medical Center, associate professor, medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and author, False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear; Dec. 20, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine


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