Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection occasionally progresses to acute liver failure, often with poor prognosis. The appropriate pharmacological approach is yet to be established. Although nucleotide analogs (NA) and corticosteroids are candidates for the treatment of acute HBV infection, their therapeutic effects, especially their effect on HBV clearance, remain unclear. To clarify effects on the HBV clearance of combination therapy of NA and steroid pulse therapy (SPT) for acute HBV infection, we first analyze the effectiveness of this therapy in patients with HBV infection compared with NA monotherapy (NAM). Of the 57 consecutive patients with acute hepatitis B infection from May 2007 to December 2018, we have included 25 patients for this study, whom we followed up until HBV clearance. According to the administration of NA and SPT, we divided patients into two groups (NAM group and NA + SPT group) and compared their results. Of the 25 patients, 10 received NAM, whereas 15 received NA + SPT. There were no appreciable adverse effects related to SPT. The time required for the clearance of HBsAg (76 (43–116) days vs. 26 (14–51) days, p = 0.0418) and HBV-DNA (NAM group vs. NA + SPT group: 180 (83.5–220) vs. 69 (43–136) days, p = 0.0420) was significantly shorter in the NA + SPT group than in the NAM group. The hazard ratio of NA + SPT for the clearance of HBsAg and HBV-DNA were 0.45 (0.19–1.09) and 0.35 (0.14–0.89), respectively. In conclusion, we showed that NA + SPT promoted HBV elimination. These findings support the use of the NA + SPT combination for acute HBV infection without the concern of persistent HBV infection.
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