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 Reference cirrhosis Opens New Window, or could develop it.
Antiviral therapy may not help if you already have severe liver damage.
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.
- Opens New Window Hepatitis B: Should I Take Antiviral Medicine for Chronic Hepatitis B? Opens New Window
- Reference Interferons, such as interferon alfa-2b and pegylated interferon alfa-2a
- Reference Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) such as adefovir, entecavir, lamivudine, telbivudine, and tenofovir
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 (Reference relapse Opens New Window).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 29, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology