Hepatitis-B

Overview:

    • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a viral infection of the liver that can be transmitted upon contact with bodily fluids, blood or vertical transmission (mother to child). The disease can be acute, lasting only a few weeks, or chronic, developing into a lifelong illness. The development into chronic hepatitis is age dependent, with about 85% of HBV infection in newborns becoming chronic, while only 4% of infection in adults becoming chronic.

    • Currently there is no cure for HBV. Hepatitis B is currently managed with drug therapies that help slow or halt the progression of the disease.

Symptoms:

    • Most people display no symptoms as a result of Hepatitis B infection. However, symptoms that may present are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine or clay-colored bowel movements.

    • Hepatitis B Virus can lead to liver damage, despite having no symptoms of the disease. Liver damage can be slow or rapid in progression, leading to cirrhosis and increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Treatment:

    • Treatment is dependent upon an individual’s classification as “Immune tolerant” or “immune active”. Immune tolerant is characterized as an individual who has high circulating HBV (HBV DNA > 1 million) in the blood stream, but experience no inflammation, fibrosis or elevation of liver enzymes. This form is often seen in people who developed infection at birth. Immune active refers to an individual with a detectable amount of virus in the blood stream and subsequent development of elevated liver enzymes, inflammation and fibrosis.

    • Unfortunately, there is no cure for HBV. However, there are treatment regimens available to prevent progression of HBV and extend the lives of HBV infected individuals. Treatment is currently only recommended for people who are considered to be immune active.

    • The goal of treatment is to decrease the amount of circulating HBV in the infected individual.

Medications: