• Hepatitis B;
  • chronic viral hepatitis;
  • screening;
  • antiviral therapy


Purpose: To address the clinical management of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Data sources: Studies from the National Library of Medicine that examine the natural history, prevention, and antiviral therapy of chronic HBV infection, with emphasis on recent studies.

Conclusions: Chronic infection with HBV is a frequent cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver-related mortality worldwide. Strategies to prevent infection, screen for liver cancer in HBV carriers, and treat chronic hepatitis B are all important in managing this disorder.

Implications for practice: Much can be done to prevent and treat infection. Both classes of drugs to treat hepatitis B, nucleoside analogues and interferons, have advantages and disadvantages. Selection of therapy should be based on biochemical, histological, and virological parameters as well as consideration of several practical issues.