Additive antiviral effects of lamivudine and alpha-interferon in chronic hepatitis B infection

D Mutimer, D Dowling, P Cane, D Ratcliffe, H Tang, K O'Donnell, Jean Shaw, E Elias, D Pillay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


alpha-Interferon has limited efficacy against chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Nucleoside analogues may confer greater benefits, however, it is likely that combination therapies will be required for effective control of this infection. We investigated the antiviral effect of lamivudine and interferon therapy in eight patients with high HBV-DNA levels. Six patients received lamivudine/interferon combination therapy followed, after a 6-month drug-free period, with lamivudine monotherapy. Mean HBV viral load (copies/ml) reduction was significantly greater after 4 months of combination therapy (4.3 x 10(3)) compared to an equivalent period of lamivudine monotherapy (2.9 x 10(2)) (P=0.03). Two patients were given 6 months of lamivudine/interferon combination therapy followed immediately by lamivudine monotherapy. Cessation of interferon in these patients led to a rapid 1-2 log10 increase in HBV viral load. These findings suggest that alpha-interferon has a direct antiviral effect on chronic HBV infection, which may be additive to, or synergistic with lamivudine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-7
Number of pages5
JournalAntiviral Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Lamivudine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load


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