Lamivudine (Epivir)

Published January 25, 2001; Updated April 15, 2019
Susa Coffey, MD
Selected References
11. Lau  DT, Khokhar  MF, Doo  E, Ghany  MG, Herion  D, Park  Y, Kleiner  DE, Schmid  P, Condreay  LD, Gauthier  J, Kuhns  MC, Liang  TJ, Hoofnagle  JH.
Long-term therapy of chronic hepatitis B with lamivudine. Hepatology. 2000 Oct;32(4 Pt 1):828-34
[PubMed ID: 11003630]
Lamivudine therapy induces improvements in chronic hepatitis B in a high proportion of patients, but prolonged therapy is limited by the development of viral resistance. We analyzed clinical responses and virologic resistance in 27 patients treated continuously with lamivudine for 2 to 4 years. Serum transaminases, hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA by both branched DNA (bDNA) signal amplification and quantitative polymerase chain reaction were monitored at 4- to 8-week intervals. Virologic resistance to lamivudine was confirmed by the presence of mutations in the YMDD motif of the polymerase gene by restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis. Serum HBV-DNA levels decreased rapidly in all treated patients, falling by 4 to 5 logs within 1 year. Transaminase levels also decreased and were normal in 70% of patients at 1 year, at which point liver histology had improved in 81% of patients. Viral resistance began to emerge after 8 months of therapy, eventually developing in 14 patients, including 76% of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients but only 10% of HBeAg-negative patients. Lamivudine withdrawal led to reappearance of wild-type HBV species, but retreatment led to more rapid reappearance of the mutant virus. Clinical, serum biochemical, and histologic improvements were maintained in the 13 patients who did not develop resistance. Thus, long-term therapy with lamivudine resulted in maintained improvements in virologic, biochemical, and histologic features of disease in most patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B and in the subgroup of HBeAg-positive patients with high serum transaminase levels. A high rate of resistance limited efficacy, particularly in patients who remained HBeAg positive on therapy.
12. Benhamou  Y, Bochet  M, Thibault  V, Di Martino  V, Caumes  E, Bricaire  F, Opolon  P, Katlama  C, Poynard  T.
Long-term incidence of hepatitis B virus resistance to lamivudine in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. Hepatology. 1999 Nov;30(5):1302-6
[PubMed ID: 10534354]
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) resistance to lamivudine has not been extensively documented in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. We studied the long-term incidence of HBV resistance to lamivudine in HIV-positive patients. Sixty-six HIV-HBV-coinfected patients were studied while receiving lamivudine (150 mg twice daily) as a part of antiretroviral therapy. All these patients had a detectable serum HBV DNA at the beginning of lamivudine therapy. Serum HBV DNA was quantified by molecular hybridization. Sequence analysis of the HBV polymerase was performed in patients who became resistant to lamivudine. After 2 months of lamivudine, HBV DNA became undetectable in 57 patients (86.4%, 95% CI: 75.7%-93.6%). After 2 years of lamivudine, 47% +/- 18.6% of the patients, had sustained HBV-DNA suppression. All the 22 tested patients with HBV resistance developed mutation at position 550 in the YMDD motif of the DNA polymerase. None of the following variables were associated with an increased risk of lamivudine resistance: age, associated protease inhibitor therapy, Center for Disease Control (CDC) stage C, known HIV-infection duration, serum HBV-DNA level at baseline, CD4 cell count and serum alanine transaminase levels at baseline and at HBV-replication suppression (2 months of lamivudine). Lamivudine (300 mg/d) is effective for the inhibition of HBV replication in HIV-infected patients. However, emergence of lamivudine-resistant HBV may occur in 20% of patients per year.