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No specific antiviral treatment is available for patients with acute HBV infection. Supportive and symptomatic care continues to be the mainstay of therapy for most of the patients.
Therapy is recommended for patients with chronic hepatitis B infection. Interferon and nucleoside analogs, such as lamivudine, adefovir, and telbivudine are the antiviral drugs used widely. These antivi-ral drugs achieve viral suppression as demonstrated by loss of HBeAg in serum and suppression of HBV DNA.
Interferons: Interferon-alpha (IFN-a) has been the mainstayin treatment of chronic hepatitis B since its introduction in mid-1980s. Interferon acts by immunomodulation and pre-vents progression of acute hepatitis to chronic stage. It also promotes more rapid resolution of viremia and normalization of serum aminotransferase levels.
Nucleoside analogs: These block the replication of virusesby directly blocking the replication of HBV. These nucleoside analogs are highly effective against HBV, and are bioavailable and extremely well targeted. However, neither interferon nor nucleoside analogs cure HBV infection. The goal of antiviral therapy is only to reduce morbidity due to HBV and to prevent complications.
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