Telbivudine prevents mother-to-infant HBV transmission

Antiviral prevents mother-to-infant transmission of HBV in study.
Antiviral prevents mother-to-infant transmission of HBV in study.

Nearly all pregnant women with hepatitis B virus taking telbivudine had undetectable levels of HBV DNA in cord blood, with no severe adverse events or complications observed in women or infants, research published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology indicate.

In the prospective study, 279 HBV-positive pregnant women with high viral load received telbivudine 600mg daily during weeks 24–32 of gestation; a total of 171 women who were unwilling to take antiviral medications acted as controls. 

A significantly greater proportion of women taking telbivudine had undetectable levels of HBV DNA in cord blood compared with controls (99.1% vs. 61.5%, respectively). None of the infants whose mothers took telbivudine tested positive for HBV at six months after birth vs. 14.7% of infants in the control arm.

HBV levels also decreased in the women taking telbivudine, while all women not taking telbivudine tested positive for HBV at six months postpartum. No severe adverse events or complications were seen in the women taking telbivudine or infants.

Telbivudine is a nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitor indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B in patients with evidence of viral replication and either evidence of persistent elevations of ALT/AST or histologically active disease. For more information visit Gastro.org.

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