Acute hepatitis, unless severe, needs no treatment. Liver and other body functions are watched using blood tests. You should get plenty of bed rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy foods.
Some patients with chronic hepatitis may be treated with antiviral drugs. These medicines can decrease or remove hepatitis B from the blood. They also help to reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
It is not always clear which patients with chronic hepatitis B should receive drug therapy and when drug therapy should be started. You are more likely to receive these medicines if:
- Your liver function is quickly becoming worse
- You develop symptoms of long-term liver damage
- You have high levels of the hepatitis B virus in your blood
For these medicines to work best, you need to take them as instructed by your health care provider. Ask what side effects you can expect and what to do if you have them. Not everybody who needs to take these medicines responds well.
If you develop liver failure, you may receive a liver transplant. A liver transplant is the only cure in some cases of liver failure.
Other steps you can take:
- Avoid alcohol.
- Check with your doctor or nurse before taking any over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements. This includes medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
Severe liver damage, or cirrhosis, can be caused by hepatitis B.