Entecavir is used to treat long-term hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. Long-term infection can cause liver damage, rarely liver cancer, and liver failure. Entecavir helps to decrease the amount of hepatitis B virus in your body. It is unknown if this medication lowers your chance of getting liver cancer or liver damage. Entecavir is an antiviral that belongs to a class of drugs known as hepatitis B virus nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
What is it used for?
- Treatment of chronic hepatitis B.
How does it work?
- Baraclude tablets and oral solution contain the active ingredient entecavir, which is a type of medicine called a nucleoside analogue. Entecavir is an antiviral medicine used to treat hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver and leads to liver damage. Once the virus is inside the liver cells it multiplies. Part of this process involves the virus making copies of its genetic material (DNA). This is achieved by a compound essential to the virus, called viral DNA polymerase. Viral DNA polymerase is a compound known as an enzyme. Entecavir works by blocking the action of this enzyme. This stops the virus from multiplying.
- Entecavir lowers the amount of hepatitis B virus in the body. This leads to a reduction in liver damage and an improvement in liver function.
- This medicine is usually taken once daily, either with or without food. However, if you are switching from taking lamivudine to this medicine it is necessary to take it on an empty stomach. This means taking this medicine at least two hours after a meal or two hours before a meal.
- This medicine may make you feel dizzy or sleepy and so could affect your ability to drive or operate machinery safely. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you and are sure that it won’t impair your performance.
Use with caution in
- Decreased kidney function.
- Obese women.
- People with an enlarged liver.
- People who have liver cirrhosis with complications (decompensated cirrhosis), or severely decreased liver function.
- People co-infected with HIV and taking antiretroviral medicines, particularly if they also have a low CD4 count.
Not to be used in
- People co-infected with HIV who are not taking medicines for their HIV infection.
- This medicine is not recommended for children and adolescents under 18 years of age, as its safety and effectiveness have not been established in this age group.
- Baraclude tablets contain lactose and should not be taken by people with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
- Baraclude oral solution contains maltitol and should not be taken by people with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance.
- This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. Since the effects on a developing foetus are unknown, women who could get pregnant should use effective contraception to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine.
- It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. Mothers who need to take this medicine should not breastfeed their infants.
The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Feeling sick (nausea).
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
- Elevated levels of liver enzymes, amylase, lipase or ALT.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
- It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
- Entecavir is removed from the body via the kidneys. If it is taken with any other medicines that can reduce kidney function, or that compete with entecavir for removal by the kidneys, then this may increase the amount of entecavir, or the other medicine in the body. It is recommended that people taking entecavir with any such medicines should have regular checks to assess if they are experiencing any side effects. Your doctor or pharmacist will know which medicines to look out for.