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Decreasing Need for Liver Transplants for Hepatitis B Patients.

A Mayo Clinic study has found a nationwide decrease in the need for liver transplants among patients with hepatitis B, coinciding with the increasingly widespread use of oral antiviral medications to slow disease progression. The study was presented last month during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston.

Each year approximately 6,000 liver transplants are performed in the US; about 4% of recipients have hepatitis B. Since 1996, four oral antiviral medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of hepatitis B: lamivudine, adefovir dipivoxil, entecavir and telbivudine. "While none of the treatments for hepatitis B 'cure' the disease, medications can stop or reverse its progression," said Ray Kim, MD, a Mayo Clinic hepatologist and lead author of the study, in a University press release. "With the widespread application of the antiviral medications in the past 10 years, physicians have anecdotally noticed that fewer hepatitis B patients seem to need liver transplants."

Dr. Kim's team analyzed nationwide data on patients with hepatitis B and C who were registered with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for liver transplants between 1994 and 2006. They found a rapid increase in the number of liver transplant registrants with hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the 1990s. However, the number of registrants with hepatitis B peaked in 2000 at 586 and then declined by 30 percent over the next six years to 409 in 2006. Link: (12/05/07)
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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