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Keywords:

  • antiviral therapy;
  • nucleo(s)tide analogue;
  • HBV DNA polymerase inhibitor;
  • hepatitis B;
  • liver transplantation

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIg) with or without nucleos(t)ide analogue (NA) inhibitors has been shown to prevent recurrence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) following orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, the use of HBIg has many disadvantages.

Aims

The present study was performed to determine if converting patients from HBIg±NA to combination NA therapy could prevent recurrence of HBV.

Methods

Twenty-one recipients without evidence of HBV recurrence on HBIg±NA for ≥6 months were enrolled. Patients received their last injection of HBIg at the time they initiated tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC; Truvada®) and were followed up for 31.1 ± 9.0 [range 15–47] months.

Results

After 1 year, 3 patients (14%) had detectable HBsAg, one of whom was non-compliant. Two of 3 with recurrence cleared HBsAg by last follow-up on TDF/FTC; the non-compliant patient became HBV DNA-undetectable with re-institution of TDF/FTC. TDF/FTC saved $12,469/year over our standard-of-care, monthly intramuscular HBIg/lamivudine. There was no evidence of a general adverse effect of TDF/FTC on renal function. However, 3 patients developed reversible acute renal failure; on renal biopsy, 1 had possible TDF/FTC-induced acute tubular necrosis.

Conclusions

Substitution of TDF/FTC for HBIg prevented recurrence of HBV DNA in 100% (20/20) of patients who were compliant with the medication and led to substantial cost savings over HBIg-containing regimens.