Hepatitis D Treatment
Hepatitis D treatment is focused on dealing with symptoms or complications of hepatitis D. Most people with hepatitis D recover completely within a few months; but others develop chronic hepatitis D -- which can lead to liver damage, liver cancer, and even loss of life. While no drugs are approved to treat chronic hepatitis D, liver transplantation has been shown to be an effective treatment for people with severe liver disease caused by hepatitis D.
An Overview of Hepatitis D Treatment
There are two types of hepatitis D -- acute (recently acquired) hepatitis D and chronic (life-long) hepatitis D. Each type is treated differently.
There are no specific medicines that can cure hepatitis D. Therefore, treatment for acute hepatitis D 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 D, most people recover completely within a few months.
Although many people who are exposed to hepatitis D are able to get rid of the virus, some people can develop chronic hepatitis D. This may lead to liver damage, liver cancer, and even death.
There are no drugs that are approved to treat a chronic hepatitis D infection. There is some indication that certain medicines used to treat hepatitis B may be effective against hepatitis D. Among these medicines are alpha interferon and pegylated alpha interferon. However, there is no consensus on how much of these medicines should be used and for how long. It is also not known if these medicines change the natural course of the disease.
For people with severe liver disease caused by hepatitis D, liver transplantation has been shown to be effective. If hepatitis D does return in a person who has had a liver transplant, liver injury is usually limited. In fact, the prognosis for liver transplantation in people with hepatitis D is better than the prognosis for liver transplantation in people who have hepatitis B without hepatitis D.