Background & Aims: Prolonged lamivudine therapy is associated with treatment-resistant YMDD mutant hepatitis B virus (HBV). We evaluated the efficacy and safety of adding adefovir dipivoxil to lamivudine in 135 patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and YMDD mutant HBV. Methods: Ninety-five patients with compensated CHB (group A) were randomized to adefovir 10 mg daily (n = 46) or placebo (n = 49) for 52 weeks while continuing treatment with lamivudine. Forty patients with decompensated hepatitis B or post-liver transplantation (group B) received adefovir and lamivudine. The primary end point was a decline in serum HBV DNA level to 105 copies/mL or a >2 log10 reduction from baseline at weeks 48 and 52. Results: HBV DNA response occurred in 85% of patients (39 of 46) in group A given combined therapy versus 11% (5 of 46) receiving lamivudine alone (P < 0.001), with a significant change in HBV DNA level from baseline (P < 0.001) between treatment groups (median, -4.6 vs. +0.3 log10 copies/mL, respectively). Normalization of alanine aminotransferase levels occurred in 31% of patients (14 of 45) receiving combined therapy versus 6% (3 of 48) receiving lamivudine alone (P = 0.002). Ninety-two percent of patients (36 of 39) in group B had an HBV DNA response (median change of -4.6 log10 copies/mL) and improved liver chemistries (P ≤ 5 0.001). Both treatment regimens were well tolerated, and renal function abnormalities were not observed in either group. Conclusions: The addition of adefovir dipivoxil to lamivudine in patients with CHB with compensated or decompensated liver disease due to YMDD mutant HBV is associated with virologic and biochemical improvement during 52 weeks of treatment and is well tolerated.
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