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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Hepatitis: Treatment & Monitoring


Alternate Names : Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the disease?

Treatment of hepatitis varies according to the type and severity of the disease, but may include:

  • bed rest
  • drinking extra fluids to prevent dehydration
  • avoiding unnecessary medications
  • avoiding alcohol
  • eating a well balanced diet for liver disease
  • antinausea medications
  • Further treatment will depend on the type of hepatitis and the extent of the infection. For example, treating hepatitis B, C, and D may involve the use of medications such as the antiviral medication alpha interferon. Other medications may include ribavirin, lamivudine, steroids, and antibiotics.

    Acute fulminant hepatitis can cause life-threatening liver failure. This requires a hospital stay and treatment for the bleeding disorder and for neurological and nutritional problems. Sometimes the only effective treatment is a liver transplant.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects will depend on the treatments used. Side effects of interferon include a flu-like illness, with fever and body aches.

    Liver transplant can cause many problems, including failure or rejection of the new liver. After a liver transplant, a person will need to take powerful antirejection medications for the rest of his or her life. Side effects of these medications increase the risk for infections, certain cancers, and other problems.

    What happens after treatment for the disease?

    What occurs after treatment will depend on the type of hepatitis and the response to treatment. For example, with hepatitis A and hepatitis E, people will not usually need medication after the disease has been resolved. They can return to a normal lifestyle when symptoms are gone even if they still have some jaundice.

    A person with hepatitis B, C, and D will be monitored for side effects and benefits during and after interferon treatment. Alpha interferon treatment might be repeated if the disease flares up again.

    A person who has received a liver transplant is checked for viral hepatitis,as well as for function of the new liver.

    How is the disease monitored?

    Monitoring of hepatitis will depend on the type of hepatitis. Periodic visits to the healthcare provider and liver function tests will be used to monitor the hepatitis and to see how the liver is working. The status of the liver may require repeated liver biopsies. Decisions for further treatment or liver transplantation are frequently made based on these tests. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Hepatitis: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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