What is the treatment?
Chronic Hepatitis B
Chronic Hepatitis B is treated using antiviral treatment. The two main drugs used to treat Hepatitis B are called Tenofovir and Entecavir. You may be prescribed a combination of the two.
Both of these drugs prevent the Hepatitis B virus from being multiplying or being reproduced in your body. The advantage of these drugs is that serious side effects are rare.
If you have a high level of the virus within your body, you may also be prescribed Pegylated Interferon alfa. Interferon is a chemical that is produced naturally in the body to fight against infections. Pegylated Interferon alfa acts as a boost to your body’s immune system and attack the Hepatitis B virus. It is usually given by injection once a week over four to six months. If successful it can force Hepatitis B into remission meaning that the amount of the virus drops to very low levels and you need no further treatment to keep the virus under control.
Acute Hepatitis B
There is no specific treatment for acute Hepatitis B. Unless your symptoms are severe, you should be able to manage them at home. You can take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol and may be prescribed codeine if pain is more severe. Nausea (feeling sick) is often controlled using a medication called metoclopramide.
Symptoms will usually clear up after a few weeks. Once your symptoms have cleared up and you feel better then you will need to be tested again to make sure you are clear of the virus and have not developed a chronic infection. This will usually happen six months after your positive test.
Living with treatment
It is worth thinking about how treatment might affect your life. Plan or think about whether you’ll need any help or support when you are living with treatment.