Like most drugs, hepatitis B medications may cause side effects. Despite the fact that many people won’t be bothered by drug side effects, it is wise to know the risks before starting a drug, along with tips that may help reduce side effects.

Although it is rare, side effects can develop into potentially life-threatening problems, especially if they are ignored or dismissed. The best way to handle side effects is to intervene early, reducing or stopping problems before they get out of control. Tell your health care provider about any side effects you may be having. You or your provider can report suspected adverse reactions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at 800.332.1088 or to the drug manufacturer.

Here is a list of approved hepatitis B medications, along with their common side effects. Click here for tips for managing them if they occur.

Baraclude (entecavir)

Epivir-HBV (lamivudine)

Intron A (interferon alfa-2b)

Hepsera (adefovir dipivoxil)

Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a)

Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide) 

Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

Baraclude (entecavir)

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset/indigestion

Epivir-HBV (lamivudine)

  • Diarrhea
  • Ear, nose and throat infections
  • Sore throat

Intron A

  • Cough, runny nose, sore throat
  • Depression, irritability, moodiness, anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, skin, eyes
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, joint and muscle aches)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (decreased appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort)
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Injection site reaction
  • Insomnia
  • Neutropenia (low white cells)
  • Pain (back, joint, muscle)
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets)

Hepsera (adefovir dipivoxil)

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence (intestinal gas)
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a)

  • Cough, runny nose, sore throat
  • Depression, irritability, moodiness, anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, skin, eyes
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, joint and muscle aches)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (decreased appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort)
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Injection site reaction
  • Insomnia
  • Neutropenia (low white cells)
  • Pain (back, joint, muscle)
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets)

Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide)

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Weakness

Last Reviewed: March 4, 2019