Although there is no cure for hepatitis B, effective treatment can reduce liver damage and decrease the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Not every hepatitis B patient needs to be on treatment. Regular screenings for liver damage is necessary to determine if and when initiation of HBV treatment is appropriate. Talk to your doctor about if you need HBV treatment.
Oral antivirals inhibit replication of HBV. It is important to take the medication daily to minimize the development of mutant or drug-resistant viruses.
(Epivir-HBV, approved 1998):
pill or oral solution taken once a day
(Viread, approved 2008): pill taken once a day
(Tyzeka, approved 2006): pill taken once a day
(Baraclude, approved 2005): pill or oral solution taken once a day
(Hepsera, approved 2002): pill taken once a day
Injection immunostimulators stimulate the immune system to kill liver cells infected with HBV. This class of drugs generally has a low response rate in patients with low pre-treatment ALT levels, high viral load, and long duration of chronic infection (common in Asians). They are not recommended for elderly patients and patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
(Intron A, approved 1991): administered by subcutaneous injection 3 times a week
(Pegasys, approved 2005): administered by subcutaneous injection once a week