1Department of Internal Medicine, Ameos Hospital Oberhausen, Wilhelmstr. 34, 46145 Oberhausen, Germany.
The majority of chronic viral hepatitis cases are induced via infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), or hepatitis D virus (HDV). These patients are at increased risk for progressive liver disease leading to cirrhosis as well as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HBV infection is well controlled by the currently available nucleosides as well as nucleotides, and the development of cirrhosis can be prevented. Additionally, it has been shown that HBV-induced liver fibrosis can regress during successful antiviral treatment; however, a "functional cure", i.e., loss of HBsAg, is a rare event when these drugs are used. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies are aiming at the selective suppression of HBsAg levels in combination with immunostimulation. The development of directly acting antivirals (DAAs) has revolutionized HCV therapy, as almost all patients can be cured via this treatment. Additionally, DAA therapy has few, if any, side effects, and is generally well tolerated by patients. HDV remains the most challenging type of chronic viral hepatitis. Although novel therapeutic options have recently been approved, response rates are still less favorable compared to HBV and HCV. This review discusses current and future options for the treatment of chronic HBV, HCV, and HDV infection.