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Asian Liver Center

at Stanford University

780 Welch Road, CJ 130
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Stephanie Chao, M.D.
Voice: (650) 736-8608
Fax: (650) 736-8001


 
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Treatment

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.

Lamivudine

(Epivir-HBV, approved 1998):

pill or oral solution taken once a day

Tenofovir 

(Viread, approved 2008): pill taken once a day

Telbivudine 

(Tyzeka, approved 2006): pill taken once a day

Entecavir 

(Baraclude, approved 2005): pill or oral solution taken once a day

Adefovir

 (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.

Interferon

alfa-2b

(Intron A, approved 1991): administered by subcutaneous injection 3 times a week

Peginterferon alfa-2a 

(Pegasys, approved 2005): administered by subcutaneous injection once a week

There are currently 7 FDA-approved drugs to treat chronic HBV infection.

What about herbal treatments?

Herbal treatments have not been proven to prevent or treat HBV infection.  The hepatitis B vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect against HBV.