Background/Aims: Acute hepatitis caused by recurrent or de novo hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection after liver transplantation frequently induces aggressive disease leading to liver failure. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of lamivudine treatment in post- transplant acute hepatitis B. Method: Twelve patients with acute hepatitis B were started on lamivudine 100 mg po daily within 8 weeks of the appearance of HBsAg. One patient was excluded after I month because of hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence. Patients were followed for an average of 68.6 weeks (range 32-108), and were clinically and biochemically evaluated on a monthly basis. They had a histological assessment at baseline, after at least 6 months, and whenever clinically indicated. Results: Basal HBV-DNA ranged between 13 and 1288 pg/ml and serum alanine aminotransferase between 97 and 1036 U/l. HBV-DNA became undetectable within 8 weeks and transaminases normalized within 24 weeks in all cases. At the last visit, eight patients (73%) remained HBV-DNA negative by liquid hybridization and had normal or close to normal alanine aminotransferase. Five patients (45%) were also HBsAg negative and HBV-DNA negative by polymerase chain reaction. HBV-DNA and transaminase breakthrough occurred in three patients (27%). Histology after 6-9 months showed chronic hepatitis in seven patients. Lamivudine was well tolerated without serious adverse reactions. Conclusions: These results indicate that lamivudine treatment induces sustained inhibition of viral replication and normalization of transaminases in the majority of post- transplant patients with acute hepatitis B. HBsAg loss may be achieved in a considerable number of cases. Although viral resistance is relatively frequent, early initiation of lamivudine appears to be effective and safe.
- Liver transplantation
- Recurrent or de novo acute hepatitis B
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