Thursday, October 07, 2004

Study: AIDS Drug Effective Vs. Hepatitis B

Stephanie Nano recaps a report published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine for the Associated Press:

A long-used AIDS drug appears to be the first effective, long-term treatment for hepatitis B in those with advanced liver disease caused by the virus.

The drug lamivudine, also known as 3TC, has been available for the treatment of
hepatitis B since 1998, but the consequences of using it for years in those with serious liver disease or cirrhosis were unknown.

Researchers tested the drug for almost three years in 651 people, mostly Asians, and found it cut in half the risk of liver failure and the chances that the disease would develop into liver cancer.

About 8 percent of those who got lamivudine saw their liver disease get worse, compared with 18 percent of those who were given a dummy pill. The study was ended early because of the difference in the groups, and everyone was offered lamivudine.

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