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Treatment with medicine usually isn't recommended for people who have acute hepatitis B. Antiviral medicine may be used for chronic infection if the virus is multiplying. You also may take medicine if you have liver damage, such as cirrhosis, or could develop it.

Antiviral therapy may not help if you already have severe liver damage.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease has made recommendations on who should receive antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis B.5

It's important to weigh the benefits of treatment against the risks. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B doesn't cure the disease, but it does suppress it.

dplink.gifHepatitis B: Should I Take Antiviral Medicine for Chronic Hepatitis B?

Medicine choices

What to think about

  • Interferons have common side effects, including fever, headaches, and hair loss. They may also cause mental problems or make them worse.
  • If you have cirrhosis, you cannot use interferons. But you can use adefovir, entecavir, lamivudine, telbivudine, and tenofovir.
  • After any kind of treatment for hepatitis B, the virus may become active again (relapse).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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