New Report Out on Antiviral Treatment for Pregnant Women with Hepatitis B

A team of U.S. researchers have written a report on the safety of using antiviral drugs during pregnancy to prevent infection of newborns and to safeguard the woman’s health during pregnancy. They propose a formula that doctors can use to assess when antiviral treatment is needed during pregnancy.

—Christine. M. Kukka, Project Manager, HBV Advocate

Abstract: Antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B in pregnancy.

Pan CQ, Lee HM. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York.

The management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) during pregnancy remains a challenge and involves various aspects of maternal-fetal care. Despite the standard immunoprophylaxis, a significant portion of infants born to highly viremic mothers remain infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Emerging data suggest that antiviral therapy in the third trimester can prevent immunoprophylaxis failure. To minimize fetal exposure to antiviral agents, antiviral therapy during pregnancy should be reserved for mothers with advanced disease or who are at risk for hepatic decompensation. Current safety data suggest that lamivudine, telbivudine, or tenofovir may be used during pregnancy.

However, the timing in initiating antiviral therapy requires careful assessment of risks and benefit. The authors provide a systematic review of the features of HBV during pregnancy, risk factors for vertical transmission, and evidence-based data on antiviral use during pregnancy. They propose an algorithm to assess the need of antiviral treatment and monitor mothers with CHB.

Semin Liver Dis. 2013 May;33(2):138-46. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1345718. Epub 2013 Jun 8.

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