Viral hepatitis

Ricardo Marrero, Eugene Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Viral hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide, making it one of the most important diseases in the field of hepatology. The response to the hepatitis A vaccine is optimal when targeted to patients with chronic hepatitis before development of hepatic decompensation. A new triple antigen vaccine for hepatitis B virus produces a greater degree of protection. Lamivudine can achieve a 3- to 4-log reduction in serum viral levels in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection. Lamivudine-resistant mutants appear in more than 50% of patients after prolonged treatment. Entecavir can be given safely for a short time and causes a pronounced reduction in hepatitis B viral DNA levels with slower rebound after stopping therapy than has been reported with lamivudine. Pegylated interferon has sustained absorption, a slower rate of clearance and a longer half-life than unmodified interferon alfa. Pegylated interferon alfa-2a administered once weekly is more effective than standard interferon alfa-2a administered three times weekly. In patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, the most effective therapy is the combination of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Other major advances in the field of viral hepatitis during the past year are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-333
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent opinion in gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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