Reported Adverse Drug Reaction Cases
Risks of fulminant liver failure when stopping drugs for the management of hepatitis B
Hepatitis B can be effectively controlled by drugs such as lamivudine (Zeffix), adefovir (Hepsera), entecavir (Baraclude), telbivudine (Sebivo) or tenofovir (Viread), but these do not cure the disease and often need to be continued indefinitely.
ADRAC is aware of at least 2 patients with previously well-managed hepatitis B who developed fulminant liver failure requiring a transplant when they decided to stop taking their medication without medical advice. While this rebound phenomenon is well known amongst health professionals, it may not be appreciated by patients who have the disease.
ADRAC requests that health professionals managing patients with hepatis B emphasise the importance of medication compliance. It is important to explain the risks associated with stopping the medications without first speaking with a doctor, and to ensure that patients have understood this advice.
Australian Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin
Volume 27, Number 6, December 2008