Objective: To describe and quantify the incidence and morbidity of hepatitis B reactivation (HBVr) secondary to pharmaceutical agents (eg, rituximab, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, direct-acting antivirals [DAAs] for hepatitis C) among patients with previously resolved hepatitis B infection.
Data sources: The MEDLINE database was searched from inception through July 2018 using the terms hepatitis B + ( reactivation OR [drug or drug class linked to HBVr]).
Study selection and data extraction: Relevant English-language cohort studies or randomized trials quantifying the incidence of HBVr secondary to pharmacotherapy among patients negative for hepatitis B surface antigen and DNA and positive for hepatitis B core antibody were included.
Data synthesis: Among 2045 articles, 102 met inclusion criteria. Receipt of rituximab was associated with the highest risk of HBVr (for oncological indication: 6.2% rate [225/3601 patients]) and subsequent hepatitis (up to 52.4% of all HBVr cases). Biologic agents for autoimmune disease were uncommonly associated with HBVr (2.4%, 56/2338), with only 4 cases of hepatitis, all attributable to rituximab. Reactivation caused by DAAs was rare (0.3%, 28/8398), with no cases of hepatitis. Relevance to Patient Care/Clinical Practice: This review compares and contrasts the incidence and clinical relevance of HBVr for various pharmacotherapies among patients with functionally cured hepatitis B, with discussion of appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
Conclusions: Among patients with prior functional cure of hepatitis B, prophylactic antiviral therapy is recommended with rituximab administration irrespective of indication because of a high risk for HBVr-associated morbidity. Enhanced monitoring alone is reasonable for patients receiving nonrituximab biologics or DAAs.
Keywords: direct-acting antiviral; drug safety; hepatitis B; immunosuppressant; reactivation; rituximab.