There is no treatment for either the acute (short-term) or the chronic (lifelong) form of hepatitis B. If the virus does not clear on its own, however, you can take medication to prevent the virus from causing liver damage.
Treating Acute Hepatitis B
People who first contract the virus develop what’s called acute hepatitis B. They might not show any signs, or they might feel like they have the flu. This virus often goes away on its own without treatment. Your medical provider might recommend rest, fluids, and good nutrition while your body fights the infection.
Treating Chronic Hepatitis B
Some people with hepatitis B develop a chronic, incurable infection. Affected infants are at particularly high risk. If you have chronic hepatitis B, your health care provider might recommend you take medications to prevent liver damage. These medications fall into two classes:
- Immune modulators, which help boost the immune system to fight the effects of the virus. You would receive this medication as a series of shots over six months to one year.
- Antivirals, which help prevent the virus from reproducing in your body and causing as much inflammation and damage. You would take these as a daily pill for at least a year.
Not every person with hepatitis B is a good candidate for medication. Your medical provider should monitor you regularly for signs of liver disease and determine whether you need treatment.
Managing Hepatitis B
People with hepatitis B can take steps to prevent serious liver damage, such as:
- Avoiding alcohol.
- Checking with their health care providers before taking any supplements, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medications.
- Getting checkups every six to 12 months to pick up on liver issues early.
If you are not currently infected with hepatitis B but know you’ve been exposed to the virus through an affected individual’s body fluids (e.g., blood, semen), you might be able to prevent infection by getting vaccinated within 24 hours.