Safe and effective hepatitis B treatment relies on taking the medicines as directed and avoiding potential drug interactions. Before starting treatment, it’s important to know whether the hep B medicine prescribed for you will interact with any other drug or substance you are taking. Drugs, alcohol, supplements and food may interact with drugs as well as with one another. Although these interactions may be listed as drug-drug, drug-food, drug-supplement and so on, this section will refer to them all as drug interactions. Note that drugs have the potential to interact whether the drug is prescribed, over-the-counter or illicit.
Tips to Help You Reduce Your Risk of Drug Interactions
- Talk to your medical provider and pharmacist before taking a new drug. This includes over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, herbs and illicit drugs.
- Read the prescribing information that comes with the drug. Drug interaction tools are available online and on apps. An interaction checker for some of the hepatitis B medications is available at hep-druginteractions.org.
- Keep a list of all the drugs and supplements you take. Share this with your entire health care team.
- Use a pharmacy that allows you to maintain a record of your medications. If you use multiple pharmacies, be sure you share information with all of them.
- Take drugs per your doctor’s instructions. Be sure you know when to take them, how to take them and whether they can be taken during the same time as other medicines you take.
- Stay current. Even if you took a drug before, find out whether new interactions have been added to that drug’s safety profile.
- Never break, crush or dissolve a pill, tablet or capsule without checking with your health care provider or pharmacist first. Some medications need to be intact so they are not destroyed by stomach acids. Tell your doctor if you have difficulty swallowing pills.
- If you pick up a prescription and the medication looks different from the last time you took it, talk to your pharmacist to make sure there has not been an error.
Tell your doctor about any symptoms you might be experiencing while taking a drug. You can also report this information to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System.
Last Reviewed: July 10, 2019