Oral Drug for Chronic Hepatitis Cleared
Tyzeka (telbivudine) from Novartis Pharmaceuticals has been approved as a once-a-day oral treatment for adults with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV).
The virus can cause lifelong infection of the liver, cirrhosis, and eventually liver cancer, liver failure, and death. A year-long international clinical trial of Tyzeka in 1,367 patients with chronic HBV showed that the drug suppressed the virus and decreased liver inflammation to an extent similar to that of lamivudine, one of five other medications approved to treat chronic HBV infection.
In patients who were positive for hepatitis B e-antigen, therapeutic response was 75% among patients receiving Tyzeka and 67% for those treated with lamivudine.