CURRENT REVIEW * ACTUALITES
Dangers of immunosuppressive therapy in hepatitis B virus carriers Edgar Lueg, MD; Jenny Heathcote, MD Objective: To identify the risk of hepatic failure in hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers given intermittent immunosuppressive therapy. Data sources: The key words "immunosuppression" and "hepatitis B" were used to search MEDLINE for relevant articles in English published from 1970 to 1990; the bibliographies of these articles were reviewed for additional publications. Also included were articles published in 1991. Study selection: Articles were included if they documented the use of immunosuppressive drugs to treat chronic hepatitis B or another condition in patients at high risk for the HBV carrier state. Results: Long-term immunosuppressive therapy has not improved the survival of patients with chronic hepatitis B. The withdrawal of such therapy from HBV carriers has resulted in a flare-up of potentially fatal hepatitis in 20% to 50%, regardless of whether underlying liver disease was present. The presence of replicating viral DNA in the serum of HBV carriers may identify those who are at high risk of the deleterious effects of immunosuppressive therapy. Conclusions: Long-term immunosuppressive therapy is not advised for liver disease in HBV carriers. For other conditions in such people continuous rather than intermittent therapy is safer. Patients at high risk for hepatitis B should be screened for this virus when immunosuppressive therapy is contemplated.
Objectif: Preciser le risque de defaillance hepatique chez les porteurs du virus de l'hepatite B (VHB) recevant une therapie aux immunosuppresseurs intermittente. Sources de donnees: Nous avons utilise les mots cles oimmunosuppression> et