Telbivudine Prevents Vertical Transmission From HBeAg-Positive Women With Chronic Hepatitis B

Calvin Q. Pan, Guo Rong Han, Hong Xiu Jiang, Wei Zhao, Min Kai Cao, Cui Min Wang, Xin Yue, Gen Ju Wang

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135 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Telbivudine reduces hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and normalizes levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We investigated its use in preventing vertical transmission. Methods: We performed an open-label, prospective study of 88 hepatitis B (HB) e antigen (HBeAg)-positive pregnant women with CHB, levels of HBV DNA >6 log 10 copies/mL, and increased levels of ALT. Women were given telbivudine (n = 53) starting in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, or no treatment (controls, n = 35) and followed until postpartum week (PPW) 28. All infants received standard immunoprophylaxis after birth. Results: At 28 weeks, none of the infants whose mothers received telbivudine had immunoprophylaxis failure, whereas 8.6% of the infants of control mothers did (P = .029). There were no differences between groups in mothers' adverse events or infants' congenital deformities, gestational age, height, and weight, or Apgar scores. At postpartum week 28, significantly more telbivudine-treated mothers had levels of HBV DNA <500 copies/mL, normalized levels of ALT, and hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion compared with controls (58% vs none, P < .001; 92% vs 71%; P = .008; and 15% vs none; P < .001, respectively) but none had loss of hepatitis B surface antigen. Telbivudine-treated mothers had no virologic breakthrough (HBV DNA >1 log 10 increase from <500 copies/mL) or discontinuations from adverse events. After delivery, 13/52 patients discontinued telbivudine due to preference. There were no episodes of severe hepatitis (levels of ALT >10 times the upper limit of normal) in either group during 28 weeks of postpartum observation. Conclusions: Women with CHB given telbivudine during the second or third trimester of pregnancy have reduced rates of perinatal transmission. Telbivudine produced no adverse events in mothers or infants by 28 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-526
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • HBsAg
  • LdT
  • Mother to Child Transmission
  • Newborn


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