Hepatitis B Treatment

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Acute Viral Hepatitis Panel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Hepatitis B Treatment

If serology tests show that a patient has had active hepatitis B for longer than six months, antiviral treatments are considered. These treatments can help keep the virus under control, but will not cure the infection. Lifelong treatment may be needed. Treatment can help lower the risk of liver disease and transmitting the disease.
Currently, the first-line treatment for chronic HBV is interferon alpha-2b (Intron A). Interferon alpha-2b is a synthetic cytokine that stimulates the immune system. As a cytokine, it evokes the transcription of multiple genes, including interleukin 4 (IL-4). The end result is the induction of T helper cells which subsequently stimulates B cells to proliferate and increase antibody production.
If HBV has severely damaged a patient's liver, a transplant may be the ultimate course of treatment.