In patients with chronic hepatitis B who have a high viral load, early entecavir treatment is related to higher short-term mortality than early treatment with lamivudine, according to recent study findings from Taiwan.
The study researchers culled their patient population from consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and severe acute exacerbation who were admitted to Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital. They were assigned lamivudine (Epivir, ViiV Healthcare) from 2000 to 2006 or entecavir (Baraclude, Bristol-Myers Squibb) from July 2008 to 2012. All patients had evidence of HBV infection of at least 6 months’ duration.
“Our study demonstrated that early [entecavir] treatment did not result in decreased survival, compared with early lamivudine treatment, if the HBV viral load was not considered,” the researchers wrote, “but in patients with a higher HBV viral load, early entecavir treatment resulted in a worse outcome than lamivudine treatment.”