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Transplant Proc. 2004 Apr;36(3):535-8.

Low-dose intramuscular hepatitis B immune globulin and lamivudine for long-term prophylaxis of hepatitis B recurrence after liver transplantation.

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Dipartimento di Mal. Infettive e Tropicali, Rome, Italy.


The combination of lamivudine and hepatitis B immunoglobulins (HBIg) to prevent recurrence of HBV hepatitis has significantly improved the survival of patients transplanted for HBV-related end-stage liver disease. Generally, HBIg are administered intravenously. We evaluated the efficacy, tolerability, and cost savings of long-term intramuscular HBIg and lamivudine in 28 patients (23 men and 5 women), who received liver transplants for acute or chronic HBV-related liver disease. Twelve patients started lamivudine before and 16 at the time of liver transplantation. HBIg were administered intravenously during the first week (50 to 70,000 IU) and intramuscularly thereafter (1200 IU every 3 to 6 weeks) to maintain an HbsAb titer >100 IU/L. Mean follow-up was 20 +/- 13 months. Only one patient experienced HBV recurrence (9 months after transplantation). This patient had failed to follow the scheduled prophylaxis. Cumulative survival at 3 years was 83%. Intramuscular HBIg were well tolerated in all cases. Cost analysis comparing intramuscular vs intravenous HBIg administration showed that 39,490 Euros were saved per patient per year. These preliminary results show that low-dose intramuscular HBIg and lamivudine are efficacious and cost-effective for long-term prophylaxis of hepatitis B recurrence after liver transplantation.

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