If you have chronic hepatitis B and are developing signs of liver damage, a healthcare provider may prescribe Tyzeka. This medication is approved for use in people as young as 16 years old, and works by preventing the hepatitis B virus from multiplying. It comes as a tablet that is taken once daily. Some people may experience side effects like fatigue, headaches, and diarrhea.
What Is Tyzeka?
Tyzeka® (telbivudine) is a prescription medication approved to treat chronic hepatitis B infection in people age 16 and older with signs of liver damage. It is not a cure for hepatitis B, but it may reduce the amount of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the body. Tyzeka belongs to a group of medications known as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), which are sometimes simply called nucleoside analogues.
Tyzeka is made by Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation.
How Does Tyzeka Work?
Tyzeka is an antiviral medication. It works by preventing viral cells from multiplying in the body. It does this by blocking a process the virus needs to multiply.
When HBV infects a person, it uses the person's own cells to reproduce. However, HBV's genetic information is in the form of RNA, not DNA. So, the virus must first convert its genetic material from RNA to DNA. A special protein called the reverse transcriptase enzyme is necessary for this conversion to occur.
Tyzeka resembles building blocks (known as nucleotides) that reverse transcriptase uses to convert RNA into DNA. However, it is just different enough that when used to create DNA, the medication actually stops the DNA from being made. Without DNA, the virus cannot multiply.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Tyzeka [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2011 December.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 17, 2012.
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