SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Chronic hepatitis B is the result of the immunological response of the host to persistently replicating hepatitis B virus. Steroids can modulate this response; after steroid administration, viral replication increases and after drug withdrawal, it decreases in conjunction with a temporal increase in the transaminase level. Long-term decrease of the viral level is observed in some patients, but the beneficial effect of steroid withdrawal alone has not been confirmed. Interferon and other anti-viral agents can suppress virus replication, but the effect of these agents is still unsatisfactory. The combination of steroid priming and anti-viral treatment may be beneficial. Recent large-scale controlled trials indicate the utility of the combination therapy, but other randomized trials show no significant difference between therapy with or without steroid priming. Although steroid priming in combination with antiviral agents may be useful in some patients, it should be carefully performed due to the potential risk of liver failure.