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19. What are the licensed treatments for chronic hepatitis B in the US?

There are three licensed therapies in the United States. One is interferon therapy and what’s licensed is Intron A, this is a Schering product at a dose of 5 MU per day or 10 MU per day three times per week over a four month period is the standard. Now it doesn’t mean that you can’t treat for six months or a year, but this has been the standard. There are a lot of studies underway looking at the pegylated interferon, the one shot a week, long acting, but they’re not licensed yet, but I’m sure they will supplant standard interferon in the future. And I would say there’s a renewed interest in interferon. The two oral agents are Epivir, 100 mg per day, licensed in 1998, and Hepsera, 10 mg per day, licensed in 2002. We don’t have time today to talk about transplant, but transplant is widely accepted and is very effective when there is decompensated liver disease or an early liver cancer that is in an area that the doctor can’t get to it, or there’s too bad of a liver disease so it’s not safe to do surgery.