Is transplantation the only cure in this condition?

Hello, My father is in cirrhosis since last year, the underlying cause was hepatitis B. My father fortunately doesn't have any adverse symptoms like he has no frequent edema and no hepatencephalpethy. But this disease has make him lose a bit weight and he often gets tired. I just wanted that can we reverse the effect of disease by nutrition therapy I mean like can the liver starts regenerating again? And making the scar tissues normal again?

8 Replies

  • No, the scarring is permanent and it spreads in time until the Liver cannot function, its a disease process. Even those who get a Liver transplant can have the 2nd Liver fail because the Hepb attacks the new Liver. Slowing it down is the only thing you can do.

  • Ralph, could you not find just a small amount of compassion for your reply? I know you are very knowledgeable but a little sympathy with the post writer would have been okay. They are probably beside themself now, just like I was when I took the courage to write a post and you were first to respond - you made me feel like I was on death row!

  • and ZABohra, talk to Bolly on here and your fathers consultant, what I was first told by Ralph proved to be wrong, I hope you have the same luck

  • Can you elaborate how this process can be slow down? Is there any new research or medicine for this disease?

  • I can tell how the process (if you mean liver damage) can be slowed down in the UK but I can't say if the same treatment is available in other countries.

    In the UK a patient with Hepatitis B first goes to their local doctor or GP.

    The GP tests their blood for Hepatitis B and if it's positive should refer them to a hospital where there is a Gastroenterologist or ideally a hepatologist.

    The hospital will take a blood test to measure their viral load, and combined with their overall health and medical history will decide which drug to use.

    The cheapest is Lamivudine.

    Other drugs are Adefovir, Entecavir, Telbivudine, and Tenofovir.

    Your father should be prescribed the appropriate drug for his viral load and overall liver health.

    Once he starts taking the drug he should take it every day for the rest of his life.

    In the UK this medication is only available on an NHS prescription at £8.20 for a month supply unless your father is over 60 in which case the drug is free.

    I don't know anything about drug costs in other countries. But the medicine must be supervised by a qualified liver specialist and the patient needs to be monitored careful as the drugs Coke with their own risks and side effects.

    Yes there is ongoing research into treatment but no new drugs have been developed since 2008 so it's better to start treatment now on an available antiviral rather than wait on the vain hope something better will come along soon.

    I would add that Hepatitis B is infectious and I would recommend your fathers close family are tested and then vaccinated. Also he should not share any personal items that might have blood on them, such as a toothbrush or razor and he should cover cuts with a dressing.

  • ZABohra you don't say what country your father is in, but in the UK the treatment for Hepatitis B is antiviral medication to suppress the virus and stop it attacking the liver. Drugs like Lamivudine or Entecavir.

    Like your father I already had cirrhosis when I started the medication and since then the drugs have kept my viral load to undetectable.

    There is no cure, it's a lifelong condition and the medication MUST be taken daily for life or the virus will replicate.

    Treatment in the UK is by a hepatologist or Gastroenterologist. A GP is not licenced to prescribe the drugs or monitor the treatment.

    Good nutrition is an excellent idea,but no it will not reverse the disease or prevent the virus replicating, though it will improve your fathers overall health and wellbeing.

    As Ralph says a transplant is not a cure either, as the virus is in the blood and wherever the blood goes in the body the virus goes. A transplant would remove viral cells from the old liver, but as Ralph says the virus will still be present in the body and blood and just attack the new liver.

    What your father needs is to be referred to a specialist and to be assessed for treatment.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. My father is in touch with gastroenterologist. He's taking Tenofevir which is an antibiotic on daily basis. Would you please tell me since when you're diagnosed with this disease and what's your age? Has it caused any other disorder? Are you able to perform routine work well? What other precautions you take besides taking the medicines?

  • Oh I have written a long post, above, which is out of date as you confirm your father is on treatment. I am glad to hear he is on Tenofovir as that is the most up to date treatment. It is not an antibiotic however. It is a drug called an antiviral as the HBV is a virus not a bacterial infection.

    I have had HBV for over 30 years.

    It was not treated for many years and I developed cirrhosis and liver cancer because of the lack of treatment.

    Now that I am on treatment my HBV is undetectable and not causing me any problem.

    However because I have cirrhosis my doctor scans my liver via ultrasound or MRI every 6 months and checks my blood for evidence of the AFP levels as this detects cancer.

    I work, I have a family, my main problem is fatigue or extreme tiredness. I never never ever drink any alcohol. I avoid taking medication such as painkillers or antibiotics if possible as these put more strain on the liver. I don't eat red meat, I don't eat saturated fats and I have cut right down on sugar and salt.

    I am very careful to be hygienic with body fluids as the virus is carried and transmitted to others in body fluids.

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