Korean J Hepatol > Volume 10(1); 2004 > Article
The Korean Journal of Hepatology 2004;10(1): 22-30.
Adequacy of Immediate Lamivudine Trial for Chronic Hepatitis B Patients with Acute Exacerbation
Chun Kyon Lee, M.D., Jeong Hun Suh, M.D., Yong Suk Cho, M.D., Sun Young Won, M.D. and In Suh Park, M.D.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Health Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital
It has been unclear whether immediate antiviral therapy or observation under the expectation of spontaneous inactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV), is more appropriate for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) with acute exacerbation. We intended to analyze the short-term natural course of CHB with acute exacerbation and evaluate the efficacy of lamivudine. Methods: We analyzed 35 CHB patients with acute exacerbation (positive HBV DNA or HBeAg and ALT>400 IU/L) between March 2000 and May 2003. We regularly checked serum HBV DNA, HBeAg and liver function tests including ALT every 1 to 3 months. If ALT was above 100 IU/L during the follow-up period, patients were treated with 100 mg lamivudine orally once a day. We compared the efficacy of lamivudine use between this group and the group provided with immediate lamivudine trial at their first visit. Results: 27 CHB patients with acute exacerbation were observed without immediate lamivudine trial. In 5 of these patients normal ALT, negative HBeAg and HBV DNA were maintained during 19 months (group 1a). Slightly elevated or normal ALT was maintained without HBeAg seroconversion in 3 patients (group 1b). However, serum ALT flared up above 100 IU/L in 19 patients within 5 months. So, lamivudine was tried on these patients (group 2). The serum HBV DNA was extremely low, being 6.5 pg/mL in group 1a compared to 518.1 pg/mL in group 2. Spontaneous inactivation of HBV was observed in 71.4% (5/7) of patients with HBV DNA less than 20 pg/ mL at the first visit. ALT was lower and HBV DNA was higher in group 2 than the 8 patients who received immediate lamivudine trial at the first visit (group 3). The response rate of lamivudine was similar between group 2, 56.3% (9/16) and group 3, 62.5% (5/8). Conclusions: Spontaneous inactivation of HBV was expected in CHB with acute exacerbation and extremely low level of HBV DNA (less than 20 pg/mL) in a short term follow-up period. Immediate lamivudine therapy might be more appropriate in most CHB patients with acute exacerbation.(Korean J Hepatol 2004;10:22-30)
KeyWords: Chronic hepatitis B, Acute exacerbation, Lamivudine

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