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Approved HBV Drugs

The future looks bright for individuals living with chronic hepatitis B. There are 7 FDA approved drugs for adults, 2 approved drugs for children and many promising new drugs in development.

The approved drugs all appear to reduce or stop hepatitis B viral replication, which may also reduce the risk of progression to cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. Although none of the approved drugs appear to provide a complete cure (except in rare cases), they still offer a lot of hope to those living with chronic hepatiits B.

Approved Hepatitis B Treatments

  • Interferon Alpha (Intron A) is given by injection several times a week for six months to a year, or sometimes longer. The drug can cause side effects such as flu-like symptoms, depression, and headaches. Approved 1991 and available for both children and adults.
  • Pegylated Interferon (Pegasys) is given by injection once a week usually for six months to a year. The drug can cause side effects such as flu-like symptoms and depression. Approved May 2005 and available only for adults.
  • Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV, Zeffix, or Heptodin) is a pill that is taken once a day, with few side effects, for at least one year or longer. Approved 1998 and available for both children and adults.
  • Adefovir Dipivoxil (Hepsera) is a pill taken once a day, with few side effects, for at least one year or longer. Approved September 2002 for adults. Pediatric clinical trials are in progress.
  • Entecavir (Baraclude) is a pill taken once a day, with few side effects, for at least one year or longer. Approved April 2005 for adults. Pediatric clinical trials are in progress.
  • Telbivudine (Tyzeka, Sebivo) is a pill taken once a day, with few side effects, for at least one year or longer. Approved October 2006 for adults.
  • Tenofovir (Viread) is a pill taken once a day, with few side effects, for at least one year or longer. Approved August 2008 for adults.

Goal of Hepatitis B Treatment

The current goal of hepatitis B treatment is to halt disease progression by suppressing hepatitis B viral replication. A sustained virologic suppression will, hopefully, reduce the amount of hepatic inflammation, thereby, decreasing the risk of progression to cirrhosis, liver failure, and/or liver cancer.

Evaluation of Treatment

Treatment responses are generally evaluated on the basis of normalization of ALT levels, clearance of HBe-antigen, and decreased or undetectable HBV DNA. If a liver biopsy is performed, histologic findings should show a decrease in liver inflammation, possibly, even reversal of damage if compared to pre-treatment biopsy results.

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Page last modified October 21, 2009

 
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