Updated Expert Guidance on the Management of Chronic Hepatitis B Now Available
In November 2015, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) released updated guidelines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infectionExit Disclaimer Developed and disseminated by AASLD, a professional society of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease, the new guidelines are an important tool to support clinical decision making for health care providers who care for individuals infected with hepatitis B.These guidelines can make important contributions to advancing two of the main goals of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis providing updated guidance to health care providers and individuals at risk. Antiviral agents can successfully suppress the hepatitis B virus and help prevent liver disease and liver cancer; thus, increased support for health care providers to determine the most appropriate, evidence-based treatment approaches will improve outcomes for those infected with hepatitis B.
The updated expert guidelines from AASLD provide clear recommendations for treatment and will help clinicians understand:
- Which patients can benefit from antiviral treatment to decrease liver-related complications;
- The effects of antiviral therapy on kidney and bone health;
- The potential benefit of treating certain patients with more than one antiviral agent; and
- How to initiate and manage antiviral treatment of pregnant women at high risk for perinatal hepatitis B transmission.
Dr. Anna Lok, Professor and Director of Hepatology at the University of Michigan and longtime hepatitis B champion noted, “The updated guidelines incorporate evidence gathered since the previous update in 2009 using the GRADE approach which requires recommendations to be evidence-based. It is focused on addressing the most pertinent questions relating to hepatitis B treatment including a new section containing guidance on use of antiviral therapy in pregnant women, which is critical to our work to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B in the U.S. and globally.”
Widespread dissemination and use of these new, evidence-based guidelines by health care providers will support the delivery of high-quality and effective treatment for those chronically infected with hepatitis B, and help prevent the progression to serious liver disease. In combination with increased health care provider and community awareness, enhanced vaccination efforts, and new screening recommendations, these new guidelines will improve health outcomes for people who are living with HBV infection.