Treatment for Hepatitis BThere are no specific medicines that can cure acute hepatitis B (see Cure for Hepatitis B). Therefore, treatment for the acute type is focused on dealing with any symptoms or complications that may occur. This is known as supportive care. Even without specialized treatment for acute hepatitis B, most people recover completely within a few months.
For people with chronic hepatitis B, specific medicines are available to help slow down liver damage and possibly prevent complications. Some of these medications include:
- Alpha interferon
- Pegylated alpha interferon
- Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV®)
- Adeforvir dipivoxil (Hepsera®)
- Entecavir (Baraclude®)
- Telbivudine (Tyzeka®).
However, medicines are not right for everyone with chronic hepatitis B.
(Click Hepatitis B Treatment for more information on treatment options. Click Hepatitis B Diet for information about what to eat if you have hepatitis B.)
What Is the Prognosis?While there is no cure, most people infected with the virus get well without any long-term problems.
Chronic infection with HBV means that you have a long-term HBV infection; your body did not get rid of the virus when you were first infected with HBV. The risk of progressing to chronic hepatitis B is age-dependent:
- Up to 90 percent of infants
- 30 percent of children ages one to five years
- 2 percent to 6 percent of people over five years of age.
Hepatitis B can be serious for older people and people who already have liver disease. Death is possible, although rare (occurring in about 1 percent of people).