A decade ago, standard therapy against chronic hepatitis B virus infections only consisted of lamivudine or IFN-α. Treatment with lamivudine and IFN has been compounded by, respectively, the emergence of drug-resistant virus strains and the appearance of serious side effects. In the last 10 years, hepatitis B treatment has made much progress. Several treatments are now licensed for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis B and others are under development. Here, we provide an overview of the potential and mode of action of anti-HBV agents that are currently available, and/or may become available in the near future. Foremost among these newer compounds are adefovir dipivoxil, entecavir and telbivudine. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.