Those who do not adhere well to the daily regimen of Baraclude (entecavir) for hepatitis B virus (HBV) have a higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer), cirrhosis-related complications and death, Healio reports.

Publishing their findings in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers conducted a longitudinal observational study between January 2007 and January 2017 of 894 people with HBV who had not yet been treated for the virus before starting Baraclude. The median follow-up time was 5.4 years.

A total of 296 of the participants maintained what the study qualified as good adherence, taking 90 percent or more of their daily Baraclude doses, while of the 617 people who had poor adherence, or less than 90 percent, 94 adhered at a rate below 70 percent.

The average adherence rate was 89.1 percent.

Those with poor adherence were 22.4 times more likely to experience virologic breakthrough than those with good adherence.

After adjusting the data to account for various differences among the participants, the study authors found that compared with those with good adherence, those with poor adherence were 14.3 times more likely to die of liver-related causes, 5 times more likely to die of any cause, 2.9 times more likely to develop liver cancer and 2.9 times more likely to develop cirrhosis-related complications.

After stratifying their analysis by three levels of adherence—rates of less than 70 percent, 70 percent to just below 90 percent and 90 percent or greater—the researchers found that the risk of liver-related health events increased progressively as medication adherence declined. These health risks were especially pronounced among those with cirrhosis.

To read the Healio article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.