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Keywords:

  • hepatitis B treatment;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • nucleos/tide analogues;
  • pegylated interferon

Abstract

The two main goals of hepatitis B therapy are durable viral suppression and avoidance of antiviral resistance. Recent treatment guidelines now recognize the importance of these treatment endpoints in the prevention of end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma rather then other surrogate markers such as HBeAg seroconversion and serum alanine aminotransferase normalization, especially in patients who acquired hepatitis B virus infection early in life. A variety of therapeutic options are now available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection, including four nucleos/tide analogues (i.e lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir and telbivudine), along with standard and pegylated interferon. Newer oral nucleos/tide analogues that include tenofovir, emtricitabine and clevudine are soon likely to be approved worldwide. Given the wide array of choices and the complex nature of chronic hepatitis B infection, selection of the appropriate therapeutic agent can be challenging for clinicians. Effective treatment decisions require an understanding of the natural history of hepatitis B and knowledge of its life cycle and molecular biology. This review includes the range of treatment options and criteria for determining when and how to most effectively intervene with antiviral therapy for chronically infected patients positive for the HBeAg.