Prophylaxis and treatment of hepatitis B in immunocompromised patients

Dig Liver Dis. 2007 May;39(5):397-408. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2006.12.017. Epub 2007 Mar 26.


The literature on hepatitis B virus (HBV) in immunocompromised patients is heterogeneous and referred mainly to the pre-antivirals era. Today a rational approach to the problem of hepatitis B in these patients provides for: (a) the evaluation of HBV markers and of liver condition in all subjects starting immunosuppressive therapies (baseline), (b) the treatment with antivirals (therapy) of active carriers, (c) the pre-emptive use of antivirals (prophylaxis) in inactive carriers, especially if they are undergoing immunosuppressive therapies judged to be at high risk, (d) the biochemical and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) monitoring (or universal prophylaxis, in case of high risk immunosuppression) in subjects with markers of previous contact with HBV (HBsAg negative and anti-HBc positive), in order to prevent reverse seroconversion. Moreover it is suggested a strict adherence to criteria of allocation based on the virological characteristics of both recipients and donors in the general setting of transplants and in liver transplantation the universal prophylaxis with nucleos(t)ides analogues (frequently combined with specific anti-HBV immunoglobulins) in HBsAg positive candidates and in HBsAg negative recipients of anti-HBc positive grafts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carrier State
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / therapy*
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens