Recommendation ID
Prophylactic treatment in people receiving immunosuppressive therapy:- Further research should be undertaken to determine whether long-term use of mild immunosuppressive agents for autoimmune and allergic problems presents a risk for reactivation of HBV infection in people with previous or current chronic hepatitis B, including occult HBV infection. The cost effectiveness of routine tests for HBV in this population, including HBV DNA for occult HBV infection, and the need for prophylactic treatment with nucleoside or nucleotide analogues needs further evaluation.
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- Reactivation of HBV may occur spontaneously or arise during immunosuppression. Solid organ transplantation, chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases are key causes of HBV reactivation. Antiviral agents can be used as prophylaxis to prevent reactivation of HBV infection in people receiving immunosuppressive therapy but the optimal treatment and duration of therapy are unknown. Decision-making and cost-effectiveness studies are needed to determine optimal screening strategies to identify people at risk of HBV reactivation. People with occult HBV (including people coming from high endemicity regions) might carry a low, but not negligible, risk of viral reactivation. Prospective studies are needed to assess the risk of HBV reactivation in people receiving mild immunosuppressants or biological treatment for autoimmune diseases, to identify risk factors that predict HBV reactivation in this population, and evaluate treatment or pre-emptive strategies using existing nucleoside and nucleotide analogues.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Hepatitis B (chronic): diagnosis and management
Date issued
June 2013

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 12/07/2013