Immune Tolerant Hepatitis B: A Clinical Dilemma

Abstract: Chronic hepatitis B virus infection remains a global health concern, with perinatal transmission still a problem in many countries. Several new therapies for chronic hepatitis B virus infection have recently been introduced that can safely and effectively suppress viral replication with a low risk of resistance; thus, it has become increasingly tempting for many clinicians to treat patients in the immune tolerant stage of infection who have high levels of viremia yet persistently normal levels of transaminases. However, understanding the natural history of hepatitis B virus infection and how it pertains to disease progression, as well as how current therapies alter or do not alter this natural history, is important when deciding whether to treat these patients. This article will review the definition and natural history of immune tolerance, the current world guidelines and recommendations for treatment of immune tolerant patients, and data on the effectiveness of current therapies in this patient population.

Millennium Medical Publishing, Inc