for Veterans and the Public
What treatments are available for chronic hepatitis B? - Hepatitis B for Patients
There are two categories of drugs used for hepatitis B treatment.
Injections: Interferon and pegylated interferon
Drugs called pegylated interferon and interferon are both approved by the FDA for the treatment of hepatitis B infection. Pegylated interferon is a long-acting form of interferon that can be used only once per week; standard interferon is a short-acting form used multiple times per week. These are also used in the treatment of hepatitis C and some other diseases. Pegylated interferon is used more commonly than standard interferon.
- Pegylated interferon is given as a shot under the skin.
- Pegylated interferon therapy is usually given for 48 weeks.
- Pegylated interferon may cause many side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, rashes, irritability, and depression.
Oral antiviral medications
There are five oral medications approved by the FDA for hepatitis B treatment.
- Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)
- Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF)
Of these, entecavir and tenofovir are the most commonly used.
The oral antiviral medications for hepatitis B are:
- Easy to tolerate without many side effects
- Taken by mouth once per day
- Usually given for several years
Hepatitis B can develop resistance to these oral hepatitis B drugs. To avoid this, patients should take their hepatitis B medicine every day.