Why does the current hepatitis B drug treatment have serious deficiencies?
The current medication for hepatitis B may be able to stop virus replication, but there are also some major shortcomings, mainly due to the toxicity of the drug itself.1 In addition, the patient is required to use the drug for a long period without stopping. Besides, the medication cannot prevent liver fibrosis and does not contribute to liver health protection.2 So what can chronic hepatitis B patients do to make up for these shortcomings? Is a better or more comprehensive treatment possible?
Chronic hepatitis B is a common liver disease where the hepatitis virus continuously replicates in the body, attacking the liver and leading to chronic inflammation. Patients normally have a high level of liver enzymes (ALT & AST). Now, the current main stream treatment is to use medication to control the replication of hepatitis virus, so that the virus count lowers, thereby reducing the attacks and inflammation of the liver. 3
It has to be made clear that the only purpose of this medication is to limit and stop viral replication, meaning that it does not and cannot cure the disease. Moreover, the patient is required to take the medication for life, because once it is stopped, the virus will resume its replication. Also, the medication does not promote recovery of liver cells, meaning that the inflammation or damage done remains until the liver is repaired by itself. Most importantly, using the medication does not guarantee that liver function will return to normal as this depends on the liver’s own recovery ability.
Another obvious downside of the drug is that like all other drugs, it contains toxicity. Long-term use will definitely pose adverse effect on human health, especially the liver, since it is the main organ responsible for the decomposition of toxins. 4
The disadvantages of using medication to treat chronic hepatitis B are evident; therefore measures to make up for these shortcomings should be incorporated into the treatment program to make it more all-rounded. Patients are recommended to enhance their liver’s self-healing ability and to adopt protective measures to guard liver health. Only by doing these can patients ensure their liver cells are protected from injuries caused by long term medications, not suffer from any side effects of the drugs and prevent liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases
- Medication side effects and long term out come information http://packageinserts.bms.com/pi/pi_baraclude.pdf (Accessed: 2016-6-7)
- Chronic Hepatitis B Key Facts by WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/ (Accessed: 2016-6-7)
- The liver has the unique job of processing almost all chemicals and drugs that enter the blood stream and removing the chemicals that are difficult for the kidneys to excrete. http://www.liver.ca/liver-disease/types/toxic-hepatitis.aspx (Accessed: 2016-6-7)
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.