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New Drug "Cocktails" Prove Effective Against Hepatitis

Research Also Links New Virus and Unexplained Liver Disease

CHICAGO, November 9 - At The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 1998 Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 6 - 10, some of the world's top biomedical researchers unveiled studies of drug therapies that are offering new hope in the fight against Hepatitis B and C. Another study examined the role of a newly discovered virus in liver disease.

HIV Drug Lamivudine Helps Hepatitis B Patients When Interferon Can't

At the AASLD Annual Meeting, Eugene Schiff, MD, University of Miami, discussed a study of the effects of a new drug, Lamivudine, that was given to chronic Hepatitis B patients who had previously failed Interferon therapy. There are many such patients, because Interferon is effective only 30%-40% of the time. Lamivudine, a drug that has been used to treat HIV patients, can be taken orally unlike Interferon, which must be injected every day. The study found that patients who took Lamivudine did much better than those who took a placebo, or who took Lamivudine in combination with Interferon. All those who took the new drug alone depressed the level of Hepatitis B virus in their bodies. Almost three quarters cleared the virus, either permanently or as long as they kept taking the drug "All in all, Lamivudine appears safe and effective," said Schiff. "In the future, I expect it will be used in combination with other drugs as part of an overall treatment of chronic Hepatitis B patients."

Interferon alfa-2b +ribavirin vs. Hepatitis C - Three Studies

Three studies on treatment of chronic Hepatitis C, reported at the AASLD Annual Meeting, found that acombination of Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin (Rebetol) was dramatically effective. John McHutchison, MD, of Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, reported on one study of more than 900 chronic Hepatitis C patients who had not had antiviral therapy before. Half the patients were give
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Contact: Kirk Monroe
kirkmonroe@aol.com
202-789-2892
American Association For The Study of Liver Diseases
9-Nov-1998


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