- Currently Hepatitis B (HBV) cannot be cured but it can be managed. Current (2015) standard of care is nucleos(t)ide analogs (NUCs) such as or or (IFN-alpha-2a).
- These Rx suppress HBV replication and limit disease progression (1, 2).
- If left untreated, HBV disease can lead to liver cirrhosis and HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) so Rx is important .
- Knowledge of side-effects of current Rx is also important since risk factors need to be considered for each individual patient based on their medical history and disease profile.
Side-effects of pegylated interferon
- Usually given for 48 weeks, pegylated interferon produces many side-effects so it’s not and shouldn’t be given long-term.
- These side-effects include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, mood swings, bone marrow suppression, and development or exacerbation of autoimmune diseases (3).
Side-effects of NUCs
- OTOH, NUCs are given life-long though their long-term safety is still unclear.
- Renal failure and bone loss are potential risk factors for long-term NUC Rx (3).
For more detail on considerations for how chronic HBV disease is diagnosed and current published medical consensus guidelines on who should get treatment and for how long, see the answer here:
- Hadziyannis, S. J., D. Vassilopoulos, and E. Hadziyannis. “The natural course of chronic hepatitis B virus infection and its management.” Advances in pharmacology (San Diego, Calif.) 67 (2012): 247-291.
- Liaw, Yun-Fan. “Impact of therapy on the long-term outcome of chronic hepatitis B.” Clinics in liver disease 17.3 (2013): 413-423.
- Scaglione, Steven J., and Anna SF Lok. “Effectiveness of hepatitis B treatment in clinical practice.” Gastroenterology 142.6 (2012): 1360-1368.