For people with short-term (acute)
hepatitis B infection (HBV), treatment with medicine
is not usually recommended. Antiviral medicine may be used for long-term
(chronic) HBV infection if the virus is multiplying or liver damage exists or
But antiviral therapy is not recommended for everyone
who has chronic hepatitis B viral infection. It is an option for people who
have or appear likely to develop liver damage such as
cirrhosis. Antiviral therapy may not help if you
already have severe liver damage.
It is important to weigh the benefits of
treatment against the risks. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B does not cure
the disease, but does suppress it.
Interferons are given as shots. Adefovir, entecavir,
lamivudine, telbivudine, and tenofovir are taken as pills.
Interferons have common side
effects, including fever, headaches, and hair loss. They may also cause or
aggravate mental problems. Adefovir, entecavir, lamivudine, telbivudine, and tenofovir
have few side effects but generally need to be taken for a longer period of
After you have taken adefovir, lamivudine, or telbivudine for 1 year or longer, you can
become resistant to the drug.
Drug resistance means the medicine no longer works
very well. If you develop resistance to lamivudine, you can take
adefovir or tenofovir.
If you have cirrhosis, you cannot use interferons. But
you can use adefovir, entecavir, lamivudine, and telbivudine.
any kind of treatment for hepatitis B, the virus may return (relapse).
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 11, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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