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Drug insight: Nucleoside and nucleotide analog inhibitors for hepatitis B.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0362, USA.


In the past decade, substantial advances have been made in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Approved treatments include interferon-alpha, the nucleoside analog inhibitor lamivudine, and the nucleotide analog inhibitor adefovir dipivoxil. This review provides insights into the benefits and limitations of lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil have similar antiviral efficacies. Lamivudine has negligible side effects but a high rate of drug resistance, whereas adefovir dipivoxil has a low rate of drug resistance but long-term use is associated with a small risk of nephrotoxicity. Several other nucleoside and nucleotide analogs are being evaluated in phase II/III clinical trials for hepatitis B.

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