Chronic Hepatitis B: Current and Future Treatment Options


St. Luke's Hospital, Department of Pharmacy, 1111 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025; e-mail:


Hepatitis B, a major viral infection that can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, is the ninth most common cause of death worldwide. Prevention of hepatitis B virus transmission is key to reducing the spread of this serious condition. Management of chronic hepatitis B requires significant knowledge of approved pharmacotherapeutic agents and their limitations. Today, agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this infection are interferon-α-2b and lamivudine. Newer agents are being developed and hold promise: adefovir, famciclovir, ganciclovir, lobucavir, entecavir, emtricitabine, L-deoxythymidine, clevudine, a therapeutic vaccine, and thymosin α-1. Therapeutic options for managing hepatitis infection after liver transplantation are also evolving. These include hepatitis B immunoglobulin and nucleoside analogues.