Postexposure Treatment for Hepatitis B

Q&A

What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening disease that affects the liver and is caused by the hepatitis B virus.1

How is it contracted?
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through the blood or other bodily fluids of a contaminated person to a noncontaminated person. This happens through sexual contact with an infected person, sharing of drugs or needles, percutaneous (through the skin) exposures, tattooing and body piercing in an unsanitary environment, unsafe injections in medical environments in developing countries, needlesticks or sharps if you work in a medical environment, and, if a mother is infected, she can pass hepatitis B virus to her child.2

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms you may encounter if exposed to hepatitis B are fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, joint or abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, light-colored stool, and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Keep in mind that most adults with acute hepatitis B will show symptoms, but children—especially those under 5 years of age—will not necessarily show any symptoms of hepatitis B.1

How can I prevent hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent hepatitis B in conjunction with a hepatitis B immune globulin such as HyperHEP B S/D.

What is a hepatitis B immune globulin and why isn't a vaccine enough?
Hepatitis B immune globulin is a treatment that contains high levels of hepatitis B antibodies. An immune globulin works much faster than a vaccine, but does not last as long. Because of the potentially life-threatening nature of hepatitis B, after exposure, doctors will give you a hepatitis B immune globulin shot like HyperHEP B S/D and a vaccine to make sure you get the comprehensive care you need.3,4

QUICK FACTS

  • About 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with the virus and about 350 million live with chronic infection. An estimated 600,000 persons die each year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B4
  • The hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV1
  • The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person, not through casual contact1

HyperHEP® B S/D (hepatitis B immune globulin [human]) is indicated for postexposure prophylaxis in the following situations: acute exposure to blood containing HBsAg, perinatal exposure of infants born to HBsAg-positive mothers, sexual exposure to an HBsAg-positive person, and household exposure to persons with acute HBV infection.

HyperHEP B S/D should be given with caution to patients with a history of prior systemic allergic reactions following the administration of human immunoglobulin preparations. Epinephrine should be available.

In patients who have severe thrombocytopenia or any coagulation disorder that would contraindicate intramuscular injections, hepatitis B immune globulin (human) should be given only if the expected benefits outweigh the risks.

Local pain and tenderness at the injection site, urticaria, and angioedema may occur; anaphylactic reactions, although rare, have been reported following the injection of human immunoglobulin preparations. Administration of live virus vaccines (eg, MMR) should be deferred for approximately 3 months after hepatitis B immune globulin (human) administration.

HyperHEP B S/D is made from human plasma. Products made from human plasma may contain infectious agents, such as viruses, and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent that can cause disease. There is also the possibility that unknown infectious agents may be present in such products.

Please see HyperHEP S/D full Prescribing Information for complete prescribing details.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis B FAQs for the public. CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm. Updated October 23, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2016.
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Hepatitis B fact sheet. WHO website. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/. Updated July 2015. Accessed May 8, 2016.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated US public health service guidelines for the management of occupational exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR11);1-42.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiology and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/hepb.html Accessed April 7, 2016.