TREATING & MANAGING
Treating Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease, and not every case of hepatitis B needs to be treated.
For those that do, there are several treatment options available. While no cure for hepatitis B has been found, treatment can be used to reduce the liver damage that may result in cirrhosis and liver failure.
Effective treatment may also reduce the risk of liver cancer.
Managing Hepatitis B
Steps for people who are chronically infected:
1. Measure ALT every 6 months to assess whether treatment is appropriate. Elevated ALT levels in the blood stream can indicate active liver damage.
2. Have the AFP test done every 6 months to screen for liver cancer. AFP (Alpha-FetoProtein) is a test used to look for liver tumors in patients with chronic hepatitis B and those at high risk for liver cancer. High AFP levels can indicate the possibility of liver cancer.
3. Receive an ultrasound every year to screen for liver cancer.
4. Get the hepatitis A vaccine to avoid further damage to the liver.
5. Avoid alcohol, drugs, herbal supplements and other substances that could potentially damage the liver.
6. Have family members screened for HBsAg (Hepatitis B surface antigen) and HBsAb (Hepatitis B surface antibody), and get vaccinated if appropriate.
7. Cancer patients who are infected with HBV should start prophylactic HBV oral antiviral treatment before chemotherapy to reduce the risk of acute or fulminant hepatitis induced by cancer chemotherapy.