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Keywords:

  • Liver transplantation;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Reinfection;
  • Lamivudine;
  • Famciclovir breakthrough

Abstract Lamivudine and famciclovir have expanded therapeutical options for HBV infection after liver transplantation. First studies confirm good antiviral effects of both, but at present the major problem seems to be a rapid resistance formation in immunosuppressed patients. Thirty-four adult patients with HBV recurrence despite passive immunoprophylaxis and seven with de novo infection after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) were treated with 100–150 mg lamivudine daily. Patients were either treated directly after infection (n= 14) or after breakthrough of viral replication during an initial famciclovir therapy (n= 27). All patients except two responded to treatment with a reduction of serum HBV-DNA of over 50%. Thirty-one patients (76%) turned HBV-DNA-negative during lamivudine therapy. Viral breakthrough was observed in 14 of these patients after 4–13 months of treatment. A total of 17 patients (40%) remained HBV-DNA-negative for more than 12 months. Only nine patients eliminated HBsAg, of which four had and an HDV coinfection. None of the HBeAg-positive patients converted to anti-HBe. Most patients showed a prompt and significant reduction of aspartate aminotransferase (ALAT) levels. No severe complications occurred. Therefore, a safe and effective therapy of HBV infection after transplantation is possible with lamivudine. Viral replication is suppressed even in patients who revealed breakthrough during famciclovir therapy. Resistance formation as a major drawback occurred in one third of the patients within the first year of treatment.