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Time for an active antiviral therapy for hepatitis B: An update on the management of hepatitis B virus infection

Authors Hee Bok Chae, Hie-Won Hann

Published 15 September 2007 Volume 2007:3(4) Pages 605—612

Hee Bok Chae1,2,3, Hie-Won Hann1

1Liver Disease Prevention Center, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine; 2Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3Department of Internal Medicine, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Cheongju, South Korea

Abstract: Significant advances in the management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) have been made over the past decade. During this period we have witnessed improvements in survival as well as reduction of disease progression in CHB patients due to the introduction of effective antiviral therapy. The need for effective antiviral therapy is underscored by the results of the REVEAL-HBV study in which 3653 hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers were followed over 12 year period. This study demonstrated that a persistently elevated serum HBV DNA level was the most important risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The ultimate goal of antiviral therapy for CHB patients should include halting the progression to cirrhosis and its life threatening complications and in preventing/reducing the development of HCC. An earlier study of 651 CHB patients with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis from countries in Asia also demonstrated that treatment with lamivudine (LVD) not only delayed disease progression but also reduced the development of HCC. These landmark studies reaffirm the need for active antiviral therapy for CHB. Current treatment options for patients with CHB include interferon and nucleos(t)ide analogues. As we gain experience with these agents, it has become increasingly clear that long-term therapy benefits patients with CHB.

Keywords: pegylated interferon, lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir, tenofovir, telbivudine

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