Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease

Menu
Menu

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
EBenefits Badge
 

What treatments are available for chronic hepatitis B?

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.

  • Entecavir
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)
  • Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF)
  • Lamivudine
  • Adefovir

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.