China's first professional guidelines on how to prevent and treat hepatitis B were released by experts on Saturday, aiming to standardize prescribing so as to reduce viral mutations that could make future treatment more difficult.
"Professional treatment guidelines are very important for both medical workers and patients," said Zhuang Hui, a Peking University Chinese Academy of Engineering member and director of the Society of Hepatitis Diseases, attached to the Chinese Medical Association (CMA).
Zhuang said they detail the effects of major antiviral drugs and recommend the most appropriate treatments, but "are not obligatory. Doctors should work out the best forms of treatment based on their own clinical observations of individual cases."
Over 80 experts from the Society of Hepatitis Diseases and the CMA's Infectious Diseases Society have spent a year working on the guidelines, using the advice of more than 1,000 clinical hepatitis doctors around the country.
The consistency and success of treatment provided to hepatitis B patients by practitioners in this field is worrying, today's China Daily quoted Weng Xinhua, director of the Society of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases attached to the CMA, as saying.
Surveys released in early September by the China Foundation of Hepatitis Prevention and Control and the People's Liberation Army's No.302 Hospital found that 45 percent of antiviral specialists were not fully aware of standard treatment procedures.
In addition, only 19 percent of hepatitis B patients were sticking to their prescribed long-term treatment regimes.
Weng said inconsistent treatment can result in high costs both financially and in terms of health.
(China Daily December 12, 2005)