Source Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
The treatment of chronic hepatitis B is in constant evolution. Interferon, the first agent licensed for chronic hepatitis B treatment, has been superseded by the growing popularity of nucleoside/nucleotide analogues (NA). However, resistance to these agents is a major challenge. Newer NAs, such as entecavir and tenofovir dipivoxil fumarate, have very low resistance rates and favorable safety profiles. Long-term use of these agents can effectively suppress hepatitis B virus DNA, leading to decrease in incidence of hepatitic flares, as well as in the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The efficacy and safety of various antiviral agents is discussed in this review.