What is this information about?
This information answers some common questions patients ask about treatment with Entecavir. It has been developed by the hepatitis team, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
You may also find the patient information leaflet on Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) useful: please request these from the specialist team or find them here .
What should I do if I still have questions after I’ve read this information?
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the specialist hepatology team for further advice and / or resources: contact details at the end of this information.
What is entecavir?
Entecavir is an antiviral medication used to treat chronic (long-term) hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection in adults. HBV infection can lead to damage of the liver including fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer, and entecavir helps to reduce the amount of virus in your body and consequently improve the condition of your liver.
How is entecavir supplied and monitored?
Entecavir will be supplied via your hospital specialist team only. It is not supplied by your GP.
- Please contact the delivery team if you are due to run out in 2 weeks and have not heard about delivery. Contact details are below.
You will need to get regular blood tests before re-supply of the medication, so it is important to keep up-to-date with these tests. Regular blood tests are usually needed at least every 6 months to ensure safe prescribing and management, but your specialist team will let you know when these will be needed. You will also have regular investigations such as liver scans.
What do I take and how do I take it?
The usual dose for entecavir is 0.5mg tablet once a day, by mouth. This should be the same time each day and can be with or without food.
There may be exceptions to this and your specialist team will advise accordingly.
How long will I receive treatment?
Currently, HBV treatment aims to reduce the amount of virus (viral load/DNA) in your body to prevent liver damage, and is not a cure. Treatment duration will be long-term in most patients until there is a loss of surface antigen (note though loss of surface antigen occurs in less than 10% of patients). You will therefore likely remain on entecavir for life or until other treatments become available.
What happens if I forget to take a dose or vomit?
It is important you do not miss any doses. If you have missed
a dose of entecavir then work out how long it has been since you should have taken the dose:
- If it is less than 12 hours, then take the forgotten dose and then continue with your next planned dose.
- If it has been more than 12 hours, then do not take the missed dose and wait for your next planned dose.
- take an additional dose to make up for the dose you missed.
- If you have vomited within 1 hour of taking your dose, then another tablet should be taken.
- stop taking entecavir unless advised by your specialist team as your hepatitis may worsen after stopping treatment. If treatment has intentionally been stopped by the team, then they will monitor your bloods closely.
What are the common side effects?
Entecavir is generally well tolerated, however all medications have the potential to cause side effects and entecavir is no different.
Reported side effects include:
- indigestion (dyspepsia).
- tiredness (fatigue).
- feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting).
- increased blood levels of liver enzymes.
If any of these side effects are a problem for you, do not stop taking entecavir but ensure you speak with your specialist team.
Does my treatment interfere with my other medicines?
Before starting entecavir, please let the specialist team know of any other medications you take, both prescribed and bought over the counter.
Please let all healthcare professionals know that you are taking entecavir.
Is treatment ok in pregnancy and breastfeeding?
People with HBV can usually have a healthy pregnancy and breastfeed, however it is essential to discuss plans with your specialist team first as they will need to monitor your HBV closely and your medication may need to be changed.
What should you expect during your clinic appointments?
You may have an appointment with any member of the multi-disciplinary specialist team including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and/or research team, where we can discuss all aspects of your care.
Blood tests are a vital part of your care and the results need to
be available to assess your response to treatment and facilitate supply of your medication. If you are having issues getting your bloods done or need more blood forms, please contact the specialist team.
Where can I find further information and support?
Please refer to patient information leaflet found inside medication box.
More information can be found via:
The Specialist Team
Answerphone service: please leave a message and someone from the team will respond during normal working hours Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00
Answerphone 01273 664541
- Out of hours GP (if open)
- NHS 111
- The medication delivery team: space to write in their name
More information about HBV can be found via The British Liver Trust website .
A patient information leaflet on HBV is available. Please request these from the specialist team or find it here .
Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
Never give any medication prescribed for you to anyone else. It may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours.
This leaflet is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.