Article

A double-blind placebo-controlled study of emtricitabine in chronic hepatitis B

The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Archives of Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 13.25). 01/2006; 166(1):49-56. DOI: 10.1001/archinte.166.1.49
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emtricitabine is a nucleoside analogue approved for treatment of human immunodeficiency virus 1 with clinical activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV).
To compare the safety and efficacy of emtricitabine with placebo in patients with HBV, we conducted a randomized (2:1), double-blind study at 34 sites in North America, Asia, and Europe that enrolled adults between November 2000 and July 2002 who had chronic HBV infection but had never been exposed to nucleoside or nucleotide treatment. Each patient received either 200 mg of emtricitabine (n=167) or placebo (n=81) once daily for 48 weeks and underwent a pretreatment and end-of-treatment liver biopsy. Histologic improvement was defined as a 2-point reduction in Knodell necroinflammatory score with no worsening in fibrosis.
At the end of treatment, 103 (62%) of 167 patients receiving active treatment had improved liver histologic findings vs 20 (25%) of 81 receiving placebo (P<.001), with significance demonstrated in subgroups positive (P<.001) and negative (P=.002) for hepatitis Be (HBe) antigen. Serum HBV DNA readings showed less than 400 copies/mL in 91 (54%) of 167 patients in the emtricitabine group vs 2 (2%) of 81 in the placebo group (P<.001); alanine aminotransferase levels were normal in 65% (109/167) vs 25% (20/81), respectively (P<.001). At week 48, 20 (13%) of 159 patients in the emtricitabine group with HBV DNA measured at the end of treatment had detectable virus with resistance mutations (95% confidence interval, 8%-18%). The rate of seroconversion to anti-HBe (12%) and HBe antigen loss were not different between arms. The safety profile of emtricitabine during treatment was similar to that of placebo. Posttreatment exacerbation of HBV infection developed in 23% of emtricitabine-treated patients.
In patients with chronic HBV, both positive and negative for HBe antigen, 48 weeks of emtricitabine treatment resulted in significant histologic, virologic, and biochemical improvement.

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