Hepatitis Home > Hepatitis B Treatment

Specific treatment usually isn't necessary for short-term cases of hepatitis B. But for those who develop a chronic condition, treatment may include medications such as alpha interferon and lamivudine. These medications work best in people with high liver enzymes and low levels of the virus in their blood. Staying healthy during hepatitis B treatment involves getting enough calories and exercise.

Treating Hepatitis B: An Overview

There are two types of hepatitis B -- acute (recently acquired) hepatitis B and chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B. Treatment differs for each type.
 
For acute hepatitis B, there are no specific medicines that can cure the disease (see Cure for Hepatitis B). Therefore, treatment 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, however, most people recover completely within a few months.
 
Although many people who are exposed to hepatitis B will be able to get rid of the virus, some people can develop a chronic condition. This may lead to liver damage, liver cancer, and death. In these cases, specific medicines are available to help slow down liver damage and possibly prevent associated complications.
 
Even if a person develops a chronic infection, treating hepatitis B with medicine is not right for everyone. Medicines often work best for people with:
 
  • Low levels of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the blood
  • High liver enzymes
  • A liver biopsy that shows moderate disease activity and fibrosis.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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