Pharmaceutical News
Oral antivirus drug proved effective in treating chronic hepatitis B

Reported by One Po-Chao from Taipei

A research team of the Taipei VGH and the Yang-Ming University proved that providing oral antiviral drugs for patients with chronic hepatitis B will effectively reduce patients’ risk of developing liver cancer, especially on hepatitis B patients who are under 40 years old do and do not have cirrhosis or liver decompensation. 

Prof Wu Jaw-Ching and Prof Wu Chun-Ying, leaders of the research team, have proved the treatment effect of oral antiviral drugs.  The research results were already published in the “Gastroenterology”, the number one journal in gastrointestinal and hepatic medicine.

Liver cancer is the number two cause of death in Taiwan.  Chronic hepatitis B and C are the major triggers of liver cancer.  At present, patients are mainly treated by tumour resection, liver transplantation and radio-frequency ablation.  However, relapse into liver cancer is a major concern. 

In the research, the team of the Taipei VGH found that antiviral drugs are effective in lowering the virus concentration, especially on early stage liver cancer patients.  Antiviral drugs are also effective in reducing the risk of relapsing into liver cancer after surgical operations. These research results were published in famous medical journals, such as JAMA and PLOSONE.

Through analysing the NHI data, researchers found that the risk of relapsing into liver cancer of patients receiving antiviral drugs after operation is 30% lower than those without receiving antiviral drugs.  The overall death rate is also reduced. 

Based on the research results, researchers formulated a proposal of NHI reimbursement policy.  Prof Wu Chun-Ying suggested that the NHI should relax the reimbursement conditions for antiviral drugs to enhance the preventive effect. 

【2014-07-17/ Taiwan Hsin Sheng Daily】