Tenofovir-Emtricitabine Treatment for Preventing Hepatitis B after Liver Transplants

An article in the June issue of Pharmacotherapy describes how a combination of the antivirals tenofovir and emtricitabine (Truvada) successfully replaced costly HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) to prevent recurrence of hepatitis B in four liver transplant patients.

—Christine. M. Kukka, Project Manager, HBV Advocate

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23744810

Abstract: Recurrence in Four Patients After Liver Transplantation.

McGonigal KH, Bajjoka IE, Abouljoud MS.
Creighton School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.

In patients infected with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) that goes untreated, therapeutic options are limited once the disease decompensates, and orthotopic liver transplantation is often the only treatment available to save the patient's life. After liver transplantation, combined therapy with hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and a nucleos(t)ide analog is the standard of practice for the prevention of HBV recurrence. Historically, nucleos(t)ide analogs such as lamivudine and adefovir have been used with low-dose HBIG for the prevention of HBV recurrence after liver transplantation. However, these analogs are ineffective when used alone due the emergence of resistance mutations. Newer nucleos(t)ide analogs such as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate have demonstrated higher resistance thresholds and effective viral suppression when paired with low-dose HBIG. 

In this case series, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of switching four patients from low-dose HBIG plus nucleos(t)ide analog therapy for the prevention of HBV recurrence to a combination tenofovir-emtricitabine regimen. At the end of follow-up, all patients remained hepatitis B surface antigen negative and had HBV DNA levels of less than 10 IU/ml. Additionally, no tenofovir-associated nephrotoxicity was observed among the four patients. 

Tenofovir-emtricitabine monotherapy in lieu of HBIG plus nucleos(t)ide analog therapy demonstrated prevention of HBV recurrence without tenofovir-associated nephrotoxicity after 9 months of follow-up in all four patients and up to 15 months in one patient.

2013 Jun 6. doi: 10.1002/phar.1306. [Epub ahead of print]

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