Skip to content

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Hepatitis B Treatment Recommendations - Topic Overview

The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease has made recommendations for treating long-term (chronic) hepatitis B. These recommendations are based on the presence of hepatitis B antigens in your blood, the level of hepatitis B viral DNA (HBV DNA) in your blood, and the level of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

Chronic hepatitis B can be HBeAg-positive or -negative. This means a specific hepatitis B antigen (HBeAg) is present (positive) or is not present (negative) in your blood. High levels of HBV DNA and liver enzymes may be present in both of these types of chronic hepatitis. This points to an active viral infection and increased risk of liver damage.

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

Hepatitis C: Diet and Exercise

Contrary to the claims of many books and web sites, there's no such thing as a proven hepatitis C diet or exercise regimen. But while you have to be wary of any programs promising cures, you should eat right and get exercise. "There's no hard data about exercise or eating right with hepatitis C, but I always tell people to do it," says David Thomas, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Exercise can make them feel better, especially with depression caused by...

Read the Hepatitis C: Diet and Exercise article > >

Treatment with antiviral medicine is recommended if you are:1

  • HBeAg-positive and have high levels of HBV DNA, and your ALT level is more than twice the normal level.
  • HBeAg-negative and have lower levels of HBV DNA, and your ALT level is more than twice the normal level.
  • Either HBeAg-positive or negative, have high levels of HBV DNA, and have cirrhosis.

Treatment with antiviral medicine is not recommended if you are:1

  • HBeAg-positive and have high levels of HBV DNA, and your liver enzymes are less than twice the normal level.
  • HBeAg-negative and have low levels of HBV DNA, and your liver enzymes are less than twice the normal level.

If you are either HBeAg-positive or -negative, have low levels of HBV DNA, and have cirrhosis, you may be monitored or may need a liver transplant.

The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) also has guidelines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. According to the EASL, treatment should be considered for people with high levels of HBV DNA and/or higher-than-normal levels of the liver enzyme ALT, and moderate to severe liver inflammation. But the decision to treat should also consider a person's general health, age, and availability of antiviral medicines.2

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 29, 2012
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Hepatitis B Treatment Recommendations Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Hepatitus C virus
    Types, symptoms and treatments.
    liver illustration
    Myths and facts about this essential organ.
     
    woman eating apple
    What you need to know.
    doctor and patient
    What causes it?
     
    Hepatitis C Treatment
    Article
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool
     
    liver illustration
    Quiz
    passport, pills and vaccine
    Slideshow
     
    Scientist looking in microscope
    Slideshow
    Fatty Liver Disease
    Article
     
    Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
    Article
    Picture Of The Liver
    Image Collection