News Centre

2 Apr 2007

New Study Demonstrates Telbivudine’s Superiority to Adefovir in Hepatitis B Treatment

2 Apr 2007

Both newly diagnosed hepatitis B patients and those who have previously taken adefovir, a widely prescribed treatment for the disease, will see improved viral suppression with telbivudine, according to a new study presented at the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of Liver (APASL) meeting in Kyoto, Japan.

The new data, presented by Professor Henry Chan, Professor of the Department of the Medicine and Therapeutics and Director of the Center for Liver Health at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, complement numerous data presentations showing the benefits of telbivudine over lamivudine, the most widely prescribed treatment for hepatitis B. Research also proves that telbivudine provides rapid and sustained hepatitis B virus (HBV) suppression in patients with the disease.

Professor Chan said: “In order to minimize the long term damage caused by hepatitis B, it is vital to lower the amount of hepatitis B virus in the body as quickly and profoundly as possible. We know from past studies that telbivudine provides rapid and profound viral suppression with a favorable safety profile. With this study, we have evidence that telbivudine is superior to adefovir in new patients, and we also have proof that in patients currently being sub-optimally treated with adefovir, telbivudine offers a better way to get the virus under control.”

The new data comes from a study of 135 patients with hepatitis B who were treated with either telbivudine or adefovir for 24 weeks. At that point, both groups were tested for HBV in their blood; in the adefovir group, only 22 percent reached a target reduction in HBV (1000 copies/mL) versus nearly half (49 percent) of the telbivudine group. Of the 78 percent of adefovir patients who did not reach target viral suppression at 24 weeks, those who switched to telbivudine saw ten times greater incremental HBV suppression versus those patients who remained on adefovir for 52 weeks.

Telbivudine is a once-daily oral treatment for hepatitis B. Telbivudine is already approved for use in 13 countries around the world, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Macau and the United States. Telbivudine also received a positive opinion in Europe from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) early this year. The European Commission generally follows the CHMP’s advice and is expected to issue a final decision shortly.

About Hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis B is a significant public health issue across Asia, and in particular China, where an estimated 10% of the population suffer from chronic hepatitis B. The number of infected people in China represents about one-third of those with the disease worldwide. Despite existing treatments, nearly half a million people in mainland China die each year from liver damage and liver cancer caused by chronic hepatitis B. That number increases to an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide.

The hepatitis B virus is transmitted through blood, and in Hong Kong it is often passed from mother to child. Once in the body, the virus attacks liver cells which can lead to chronic hepatitis B infection. This in turn may cause liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer and liver failure. Chronic hepatitis B is the second most common cause of cancer after smoking.