, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 20-26

Treatment of chronic hepatitis B: New antiviral therapies

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Chronic hepatitis B infection is the most important cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Interferon-alpha has been shown to be effective in approximately one third of patients, and response seems to be sustained in long-term follow-up studies in Western countries. New treatments using lamivudine and other nucleoside analogues such as famciclovir, lobucavir, and adfovir showed promising results although sustained suppression of viral replication is unusual after discontinuation of therapy. The results of recent clinical studies using these nucleoside analogues are discussed in detail in this review. Other important issues such as drug resistance and the role of combination therapy are also addressed.