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Keywords:

  • entecavir;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • nucleoside/nucleotide analogues;
  • tenofovir

Summary.  Entecavir (ETV) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) are potent nucleos(t)ide analogues (NUCs) recommended as first-line monotherapies for chronic hepatitis B. In Phase III trials, ETV and TDF demonstrated superior efficacy, and comparable safety compared with other NUCs. In long-term clinical studies, both drugs achieved virologic response rates of around 95%, with very low rates of resistance development and good safety profiles. Clinical trials are conducted under standardized conditions with strict enrolment criteria that limit the heterogeneity of study populations. ‘Real-life’ populations tend to be composed of a wider range of patients, often older and with different morbidities, comorbidities that may impact treatment efficacy and co-factors, such as smoking and alcohol intake, which can have a direct impact on disease progression. Real-life studies provide better representations of everyday clinical practice and are important to confirm the results reported in clinical studies and to identify rare or late-emerging adverse events. In five ‘real-life’ studies of ETV in more than 1000 patients, up to 4 years of treatment resulted in virologic responses in 76–96% of patients. Two real-life studies of TDF reported response rates of 71–92% after up to 21 months of treatment. Low incidences of drug resistance and favourable tolerabilities were reported for both drugs, thus confirming the results from registration trials.