Hep B Blog

HBV Journal Review – January 2014

HBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the
 latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:

  • Amniocentesis Increases Risk of Hepatitis B Infection in Infants
  • Tenofovir Alone Effective in Treating Adefovir-Resistant Hepatitis B
  • Another Study Confirms Increased Pancreatic Cancer Risk in People with Hepatitis B
  • Studies Uncover the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Antiviral Entecavir
  • Antiviral Telbivudine Appears to Protect Kidney Health
  • Experimental Treatment Would Help Immune System Attack HBV Infection
  • Study Shows Antiviral Treatment Helps Liver Function
  • Is There a New Normal for Healthy ALT Levels?
  • Obesity May Decrease Hepatitis B Vaccine Effectiveness, But Old Age Does Not
  • High Rates of Coinfections Underscore Need for Coordinated Care
  • More Evidence: Lamivudine Should Not Be Used in Pregnant Women 

HBV Journal Review
January 1, 2014
Vol 11, no 1
by Christine M. Kukka

Amniocentesis Increases Risk of Hepatitis B Infection in Infants Chinese researchers compared the rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in infants born to HBV-infected women who underwent amniocentesis to women who did not and found that the procedure increased HBV infection in infants.

Amniocentesis is the sampling of amniotic fluid using a hollow needle inserted into the uterus. The fluid is used to screen for developmental abnormalities in a fetus.

According to the report published in the November 2013 Journal of Hepatology, researchers found that women with high viral loads who underwent the procedure had higher rates of infecting their infants (6.35%) than those who did not (2.53%).

The scientists compared infection rates in 63 infants whose mothers had amniocentesis against 198 infants whose mothers did not. However, when the mothers’ viral loads were moderate, amniocentesis did not increase mother-to-child (vertical) infection rates. Significant increases in vertical infection occurred only when women had high viral loads, greater than about 7 million copies per milliliter.

“Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg-positive) women who plan to have amniocentesis should be evaluated for the risk of vertical transmission and (assessed) according to their HBV DNA levels,” researchers wrote. They called for more studies to be performed to confirm their findings.

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24269471

Tenofovir Alone Effective in Treating Adefovir-Resistant Hepatitis B
The antiviral tenofovir (Viread) by itself is as effective as the combination of tenofovir plus emtricitabine (Truvada) in treating hepatitis B patients who have developed resistance to the antiviral adefovir (Hepsera).

European researchers treated 46 adefovir-resistant patients with just tenofovir and 39 with tenofovir plus emtricitabine for 168 weeks.

Long-term suppression of HBV DNA to low levels (less than 400 copies/mL) occurred in 84% of the tenofovir-treated group and 82% of the emtricitabine plus tenofovir group.

No signs of tenofovir resistance occurred during the three-year study period, and there were no notable side effects in either treatment group.

“Tenofovir monotherapy is as effective as emtricitabine/tenofovir combination therapy in maintaining long-term viral suppression in patients with a suboptimal response to adefovir,” researchers wrote in the November issue of the Journal of Hepatology, “and is well tolerated in this population.”

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24295873

Continue reading about these studies here.

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