What treatments are available for chronic hepatitis B? - Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease
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Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease


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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.

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.

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.