How Is Hepatitis B Treated?

Read Transcript

The options for treatment for Hepatitis B, include both interferon and oral medications. The advantage of interferon is that it is only one year of therapy. But it is an injectable, with significant side effects. There are several oral therapies for Hepatitis B, and they include both nucleoside, and nucleotide drugs.

These are oral once a day medications that have virtually no side effects. The issue with these drugs is they have to be taken for a prolonged period of time, sometimes indefinitely but they are very effective at surpressing the virus to undetectable levels and preventing progression of disease or reversing existing liver damage.

The two most common oral drugs for Hepatitis B are tenofovir and entecavir. These two drugs are preferred because they are very potent and have low rates of resistance. In five years of study with both drugs over 90% of patients remain completely suppressed, with a less than one percent rate of development of resistance of the virus, thus one drug can take key patients suppressed for prolonged periods of time, without side effects.