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Currently, the main aim of most hepatitis B treatment is to reduce liver damage by controlling the replication of the virus. This helps to cut down the risk of serious disease, enabling the liver to repair itself. Not everyone with chronic hepatitis B needs treatment all the time. Treatment is started when the virus enters an active phase.

The decision of when to treat and what treatment to use, is complex and needs to be made by a specialist based on individual assessments.

Briefly, there are two types of treatment for hepatitis B: interferon and antivirals. Interferon is given in the form of weekly injections. It is used to boost the body’s immune system so that it can fight the hepatitis B virus more effectively. Interferon treatment has side effects which some may find hard to manage.

Antiviral drugs limit the virus’ ability to reproduce; they are taken daily in tablet form. Once started, antivirals need to be taken long term to prevent resistance. It is vital that treatment is taken as prescribed even if you feel well. Stopping treatment early can result in drug resistance.

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