Skip to content

    Hepatitis Health Center

    Font Size

    FDA OKs New Hepatitis B Drug

    Drug Called Tyzeka Suppresses Hepatitis B Virus
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Oct. 26, 2006 -- The FDA yesterday approved a new drug, called Tyzeka, to treat chronic hepatitis B in adults.

    In a large clinical trial, Tyzeka was shown to be an effective antiviral agent, capable of suppressing the hepatitis B virus and improving liver inflammation comparably to Epivir-HBV, one of five medications already approved to treat chronic hepatitis B. Tyzeka is not a cure, however.

    Hepatitis B is a serious viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

    The hepatitis B virus is spread when body fluid from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person, sometimes by sexual contact or blood contamination.

    "In a typical year, an estimated 70,000 Americans become infected with chronic HBV [hepatitis B], and some 5,000 of them will die of the complications caused by the disease," says Stephen Galson, MD, MPH, and director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

    "Tyzeka offers prescribers another option for treating these patients," Galson continues in an FDA news release.

    About Tyzeka

    Tyzeka is a new molecular entity, which is an FDA term for medication containing an active substance that has never before been approved for marketing in any form in the U.S.

    Long-term benefits of Tyzeka are unknown.

    Use of the drug has not been shown to reduce the risk of transmission of the hepatitis B virus to others.

    Drug's Approval

    Tyzeka was studied in a yearlong international clinical trial that included 1,367 patients with chronic hepatitis B. The patients were at least 16 years old; three-fourths were men.

    The trial produced evidence of Tyzeka's antiviral effectiveness, including the suppression of hepatitis B virus and improvement in liver inflammation.

    In clinical studies, Tyzeka was generally well tolerated. The most common side effects were elevated CPK (creatinine phosphokinase, an enzyme that marks the breakdown of muscle tissue), upper respiratory tract infection, fatigue,headache, abdominal pain, and cough.

    Also, after several weeks to months of Tyzeka use, some patients developed symptoms ranging from transient muscle pain to muscle weakness.

    Those who developed muscle weakness experienced significant improvement in their symptoms when Tyzeka was discontinued.

    Today on WebMD

    Hepatitus C virus
    Types, symptoms and treatments.
    liver illustration
    Myths and facts about this essential organ.
    woman eating apple
    What you need to know.
    doctor and patient
    What causes it?
    Hepatitis C Treatment
    Syringes and graph illustration
    liver illustration
    passport, pills and vaccine
    Scientist looking in microscope
    Fatty Liver Disease
    Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
    Picture Of The Liver
    Image Collection