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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Mar;47(6):730-737. doi: 10.1111/apt.14497. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Review article: long-term safety of oral anti-viral treatment for chronic hepatitis B.

Wong GL1,2,3, Seto WK4,5, Wong VW1,2,3, Yuen MF4,5, Chan HL1,2,3.

Author information

Institute of Digestive Disease, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong, China.
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong, China.
State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong, China.
Department of Medicine & State Key Laboratory of Liver Research, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen, China.



Safety profile of nucleos(t)ide analogues is an important issue in view of its widespread use for decades in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB).


To review and evaluate the latest evidence on the safety profiles of the six approved nucleoside analogues.


Relevant articles related to nucleoside analogue safety were selected for review following extensive language- and date-unrestricted, electronic searches of the literature.


Nephrotoxicity has been well reported in patients receiving older generations of nucleotide analogues, namely adefovir dipivoxil and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Yet risks of renal failure and renal replacement therapy were similar in patients treated with nucleoside analogues versus nucleotide analogues in real-life setting. Bone toxicity is closely related to nucleoside analogue effect on renal proximal tubular and phosphaturia. Real-life data demonstrated increased risk of hip fracture in patients receiving adefovir but not TDF. The newly approved tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) has improved renal and bone safety profiles compared to TDF. Long-term use of nucleoside analogues eg entecavir does not increase the risk of other cancers. Muscular toxicity may be seen in telbivudine-treated patients so regular monitoring is advised. Peripheral neuropathy and lactic acidosis are rare adverse events. Latest international guidelines support the use of TDF, telbivudine and lamivudine during pregnancy; breastfeeding is not contraindicated during TDF therapy.


Long-term safety profile of nucleoside analogues is now better defined with more data from large real-life cohorts and clinical trials with long-term follow-up. The new nucleotide analogue, TAF is now available with favourable renal and bone safety profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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