Contact your health care provider immediately if you know you've been exposed to hepatitis B. Receiving an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin within 24 hours of coming in contact with the virus may help protect you from developing hepatitis B. You should also receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
If you aren't aware of the time of exposure and test positive for hepatitis B, your health care provider my not recommend treating the virus with medication unless there is significant liver damage or elevated levels of liver enzyme in your blood because side effects of the treatment can be severe, but some health care providers are favorable to a more aggressive approach and recommend fighting the virus with medication anyway.
Once chronic hepatitis B is developed, treatment is geared towards reducing inflammation, symptoms, and infectivity. In some cases liver transplantation may be the only option.
There are four treatment options for chronic hepatitis B infection:
Interferon, which your body naturally makes, is a treatment that gives your body additional interferon that has been manufactured in a laboratory to stimulate your body's immune response to HBV and help prevent the virus from replicating in your cells.
Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) is an antiviral medication that helps prevent hepatitis B from replicating in your cells.
Adefovir dipivoxil (Hepsera) is also an antiviral medication that helps prevent hepatitis B from replication in your cells, but is effective in people who are resistant to lamivudine.
Entecavir (Baraclude) is an antiviral medication that is similar to lamivudine, but may be more effective.
Dosage and length of treatment vary between each case. Each treatment has there own side effects, some severe.