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What are the Different Chronic Hepatitis B Treatments?

Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Hepatitis B is a medical condition caused by a virus and is characterized by inflammation of the liver. Chronic hepatitis B is a term used when this infections lasts for more than six months. Once this condition reaches the chronic stages, it is unlikely to ever completely go away. Hepatitis B is known as a blood-borne virus and is transmitted from one person to another by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Chronic hepatitis B treatments may include close medical monitoring or the use of prescription medications known as antiviral agents. In extreme cases where there has been a significant reduction in liver functioning, a liver transplant may become necessary.

Once a patient has been infected with the hepatitis B virus, there are no available medications that are able to prevent the condition from becoming chronic. Patients who have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B will be closely monitored by a physician so that any potential complications can be found as early as possible. Some people with chronic hepatitis B will develop persistent diarrhea. Chronic hepatitis B treatments for these people may include drinking more fluids, or in some cases the person may need to be hospitalized for a while so that IV fluids and electrolytes can be used to replace lost fluids.

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Antiviral medications are among the most common chronic hepatitis B treatments available. These medications require a prescription and are used to help the body fight the invading virus. The use of these medications may help to slow the progression of the hepatitis B virus, helping the liver to function longer than it may have without the use of these types of chronic hepatitis B treatments.

In many cases of chronic hepatitis B, the liver eventually becomes so damaged that it can no longer function properly. If other chronic hepatitis B treatments have not been successful, a liver transplant may be the only option left for the patient. When a liver transplant is performed, the patient is placed under general anesthesia, and the damaged liver is surgically removed. The patient will then receive a new liver from an organ donor or a living donor, with close family members often being the best potential matches. There is a high survival rate for most people who undergo a liver transplant as long as physician orders are followed and medications are taken as prescribed by the doctor.

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