, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 784-795

Lamivudine and interferon versus lamivudine monotherapy for HBeAg-Positive hepatitis B treatment: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

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The suboptimal outcomes of current chronic hepatitis B treatments have prompted the notion of combination therapy as a means of augmenting the therapeutic response. In this study, investigators compared lamivudine monotherapy versus its combination with conventional or pegylated interferon-α, pooling data from all pertinent randomized controlled studies into the meta-analysis. The studies were evaluated for methodologic quality and heterogeneity. Rates of sustained virologic and biochemical responses and of hepatitis B e antigen clearance and seroconversion were used as primary efficacy measures. Quantitative meta-analyses were conducted to assess differences between groups for conventional and pegylated interferon, and overall. Analysis yielded greater sustained virologic, biochemical, and seroconversion rates with the addition of conventional (odds ratio [OR]=4.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.2–9.4,P}<.001; OR=2.1, 95% CI=1.3–3.2,P=.002; and OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.4–4.8,P=.001, respectively) and pegylated (OR=2.0, 95% CI=1.1–3.6,P=.02; OR=1.8, 95% CI=1.3–2.6,P}<.001; and OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1–2.3,P=.03, respectively) interferon-α to lamivudine, with the former also yielding greater hepatitis B e antigen clearance rates (OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.3–5.2,P=.008). As previous studies suggested that pegylated interferon monotherapy and its combination with lamivudine were comparable, the use of this combination is not justified. In contrast, when conventional interferon-α is used, its combination with lamivudine should be considered.