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How to Evaluate a Clinical Trial
After a new drug is tested in laboratory settings and shows promise, it is tested on humans in a clinical trial. Today, there are dozens of clinical trials or studies that evaluate new antivirals, interferons, and innovative vaccines on patients infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
HBV: Managing Treatment Side Effects
Many who are treated with pegylated interferon (Pegasys) to boost their immune systems or with antiviral medications to inhibit reproduction of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) notice some side effects.
What Happens When Drug Resistance Develops?
When patients infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) are treated with antiviral medications for several years, their HBV is able to develop resistance to the treatment. Antivirals are drugs that interfere with the replication process, but HBV mutates easily. Over time certain mutations can “resist” the antiviral, increase rapidly in number, and start causing liver damage again.
When Is Treatment Needed?
Despite the availability of more drugs to treat hepatitis B, experts are still establishing when treatment should begin. Historically, researchers have used elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels as the key indicator that treatment should be started because elevated ALT levels indicate liver damage is occurring. Now, experts are not so sure.
Pregnancy Drug Categories
Which drugs are safe to take while a woman is pregnant? If a woman becomes pregnant while on therapy is there a risk to the fetus? If a woman is pregnant, which drugs increase the risk of birth defects? To help guide medical providers and patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established certain categories that for the most part define what is safe and what is not safe.
Reporting Drug Side Effects
Prior to the release of a new medication, clinical studies are conducted that ‘test’ a drug for safety, effectiveness, and other important issues before marketing approval. Safety is given the highest priority when testing a new drug. Nevertheless, sometimes drug side effects slip through the cracks, and the results can be life-threatening. The problem is that most clinical trials study the ‘easiest’ populations.
Tips for Lowering Prescription Drug Costs
Prescription drug costs are going up. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t afford a medication. Nearly everyone has been hit by rising health care prices. This fact sheet provides some cost-saving tips to consider.