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Original article

Treatment of chronic hepatitis B in Asia-Pacific countries: is the Asia-Pacific consensus statement being followed?

Joseph JY Sung, Deepak Amarapurkar, Henry LY Chan, Jun Cheng, Jia-Horng Kao, Kwang-Hyub Han, Teerha Piratvisuth

Corresponding author name: Joseph JY Sung
Corresponding author e-mail: joesung@cuhk.edu.hk

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2010; 15:607-616
doi: 10.3851/IMP1561

Date accepted: 16 December 2009
Date published online: 11 June 2010

Abstract

Background: The Asia-Pacific consensus guidelines for the management of chronic hepatitis B state that the principal indicators for starting therapy are increased HBV DNA levels (≥20,000 IU/ml for hepatitis B e antigen [HBeAg]-positive status and >2,000 IU/ml for HBeAg-negative status) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels >2× the upper limit of normal. We aimed to determine whether clinicians in the Asia-Pacific region are treating patients with chronic hepatitis B according to the Asia-Pacific consensus statement on the management of chronic hepatitis B.

Methods: An online survey of chronic hepatitis B treatment practices was prepared, consisting of 14 questions grouped into seven categories: patient statistics, treatment statistics, treatment decision, first-choice treatment, treatment duration, future directions and patient preference.

Results: In total, 124 respondents from 12 countries completed the survey. Most respondents indicated that detectable HBV DNA was either the first or second most important factor when deciding whether to initiate therapy. Many physicians were unsure about initiation of treatment in patients >40 years of age when ALT levels were within the normal range. Oral antiviral drugs were the most frequently used medication because of their effectiveness, safety and ability to provide sustained viral suppression. Conversely, the most important reasons for selecting interferon therapy were effectiveness, fixed duration of treatment and lack of drug resistance. Criteria for stopping treatment generally followed the recommendations included in the guidelines.

Conclusions: These data suggest that clinicians from the Asia-Pacific region use criteria beyond those advocated in treatment guidelines when deciding whether to initiate treatment in HBV-infected patients.

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