Entecavir Versus a Staggering Number of Hepatitis B Cases Worldwide


Entecavir 209216-23-9Entecavir, CAS# 209216-23-9 may also be known by it’s brand name Baraclude. With the patent for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Baraclude expiring on February 21, 2015, entecavir is on track to becoming a profitable generic product. Used to treat patients with chronic hepatitis B, entecavir is considered an antiviral medication. With a staggering 2 billion people around the world, or one out of every three, being infected with hepatitis B, entecavir is forecast for continued use worldwide.

Entecavir is effectual as it is able to prevent certain virus cells from multiplying in the affected patient’s body, thus reducing the amount of hepatitis B virus in the blood. In addition, entecavir is effective for not only those patients who have hepatitis B, but  also those who have liver damage due to an active case of the virus. Patients being treated for HIV should not take entecavir. There is a slight possibility that patients dosed with entecavir may develop a potentially life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis. Side effects may be mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, temporary hair loss and upset stomach.

 

World prevalence of chronic hepatitis B
World prevalence of chronic hepatitis B. Source: CDC.

 

Most efficacious when taken on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after eating, entecavir should be taken with a full glass of water. Entecavir is available in both tablets, .5 and 1 milligram, and as a liquid 0.05-milligram/milliliter dose. Patients with an active case of hepatitis B will usually receive .5 mg once daily. Entecavir may be used for treating children infected with the virus, but doses should be individualized based on the child’s weight, disease progression and overall health factors. According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, while the vast majority of adults exposed to the hepatitis B infection will recover and develop protective antibodies, 5-10% will not. Unfortunately these patients will be unable to get rid of the virus, and therefore develop chronic infections. The statistics for infants and children are extremely morose. An incomprehensible 90% of infants and almost 50% of young children infected with hepatitis B will develop chronic infections. While the vaccinations for hepatitis B are offered worldwide, cases of this debilitating disease continue to grow. Roughly 10-30 million people worldwide become infected with hepatitis B each year. In the United States up to 100,000 new people will become infected each year. Surprising to many, the hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus.

One particular study, a multinational and double-blind study compared 0.5 milligrams of a once daily entecavir (Barracuda)  to 100 milligrams of lamivudine once a day. This lengthy 52 week study found entecavir to be superior to lamivudine in the primary efficacy endpoint of histologic improvement. As a formidable medication for hepatitis B, entecavir is shaping up to be a worthy opponent against the rising numbers of this devastating disease around the world.

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