Adult hepatitis B antiviral safe and effective in teens

A recent clinical study of the adult antiviral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir DF) showed it to be safe and effective for use in teens infected with the hepatitis B virus.

The results, published in the recent issue of the journal Hepatology, show tenofovir DF capable of suppressing the infection in 89 percent of pediatric patients.

"Children chronically infected with HBV are at great risk of developing severe liver disease and possible death due to complications from the disease," Dr. Karen Murray of Seattle Children's Hospital and the lead researcher of the clinical trial said. "Tenofovir DF is highly effective in treating adults with chronic HBV and our trial evaluated safety and efficacy of the drug in adolescents."

Chronic HBV is a major burden on public health. It is believed to affect approximately 350 million people worldwide and 600,000 people die from the infection every year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one million Americans have chronic HBV. Evidence suggests that 90 percent of patients infected as infants go on to develop the chronic form of the illness. Up to 25 percent of adults who are chronically infected in childhood will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.

"Tenofovir DF therapy was well tolerated and effective in suppressing HBV in adolescents," Murray said. "Our trial demonstrates that tenofovir is a beneficial therapy for managing chronic HBV in teens."

The study showed a virologic response in 89 percent of those who received tenofovir during the study. None of those who received the placebo achieved HBV suppression. No major safety issues were reported.