Adult woodchucks (Marmota monax) chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) were treated orally with lamivudine (15 mg/kg per day) for 57 weeks. After 20 weeks of treatment a 2-3 log reduction in serum WHV DNA was detected. Serum titers of WHV then increased gradually, in the presence of lamivudine treatment, reaching pre-treatment values by week 40. Viral recrudescence was associated with development of mutations in the B domain of the WHV polymerase gene. Mutations observed in the highly conserved FLLA motif of the B domain were L564V, L565M, and A566T, with A566T being the most frequently observed. Beginning on week 57 of lamivudine treatment, one group (n = 3) was treated orally with adefovir dipivoxil at a dose of 15 mg/kg per day plus lamivudine, and a second group (n = 3) was treated with H2O placebo plus lamivudine. In woodchucks treated with adefovir dipivoxil, two had the A566T mutation, and one had both A566T and L565V. In the group maintained on lamivudine monotherapy, A566T alone was present in one animal, another carried both A566T and L565V, and in the third, no B-domain mutations were detected. There was a 4.5 log reduction in serum WHV DNA after 12 weeks of treatment with the adefovir/lamivudine combination, while in the lamivudine monotherapy controls, WHV DNA decreased by only 0.83 log (P > 0.001). A slight recurrence in serum titers of WHV DNA was observed one week after withdrawal of adefovir treatment but no further increase in viral load was observed during the remainder of the 12-week post-treatment follow-up period. The results demonstrate that supplemental adefovir dipivoxil treatment is effective in suppressing replication of lamivudine-resistant B-domain mutants in the woodchuck model of hepatitis B virus infection.