SF Hep B Free Support Group

Jaundice how long?

I have been newly diagnosed with hepatitis B chronic. I was a generally healthy adult male at 24 years old. Have a good family a stable job and a very good support group. I’ve noticed symptoms about last year and decided to get checked out this year and it was said I acquired this at birth. I was adopted from Russia at 2 years old back in ‘96. It didn’t surprise me that this is how I acquired this disease, but shocked me as my life as I know it has been flipped upside down. I was wondering when my eyes will return back to white. I have very mild jaundice and have been on Tenofovir for about 3 weeks now. Does this ever occur? I watch what I eat and ingest. I’m an EMT as a volunteer and my 8-5 job’s stress is moderate. I just want to know if the the sclera of my eyes will ever be white again? Thank you.

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Hi ch1ckens96,

Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad you were able to catch your chronic hepatits B early. Most patients who catch the virus early and begin treatment and management go on to live full healthy lives.
I was able to consult some of our experts who indicated that jaundice, which is caused by elevated bilirubin levels in your body, can cause the whites of your eyes and your skin to turn yellow. Hepatitis B can cause elevated bilirubin through liver injury and this is likely why you were started on antiviral medication three weeks ago. Tenofovir is an antiviral medication that will gradually lower your virus levels, liver inflammation tests, and bilirubin to normal levels. Once your bilirubin normalizes, the yellow color of your eyes should turn back to white. Please feel free to check in with us if you have any other questions or concerns. We are here for you.

Best,
Richard

Awesome. Thank you for the information. How long does it take to start seeing results from Tenofovir? I have noticed some symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort subsiding, which I think is a huge step. I just don’t want to die at a young age. I have been drinking moderately since being on Tenofovir, but that is 1 or 2 beers a weekend if I am lucky. Does having hepatitis B hinder my ability to continue my volunteer EMT career?? Will I have to let that go? I appreciate all the help.

Best,
Pete

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Hi Pete,

Chasing dwon the answers and will get back to you asap. In what state are you an EMT?

Hi Pete,

Here is the response from our physician advisor:
Depending on your hepatitis B viral load when you started on tenofovir, it can take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year to get your viral levels down to undetectable. You should not drink alcohol if you are recovering from hepatitis B related liver injury. Try to abstain from alcohol at least while you are still recovering because alcohol will only delay your recovery. Once your hepatitis B is controlled on antiviral medication, you should not be precluded from any activities that you want to pursue, including a career as an EMT.

Pete, I also reached out to my colleagues at the Hepatitis B Foundation who added that you should not be discriminated against because of your HBV status and should be able to continue your work. As far as we know you should not have to disclose your hepatitis B status to your employer. However, you should be aware of any policy that might exist anyway and be prepared to respond if they ask to test for antibodies or surface antigen. If you have any questions please call Chari at their Help Line (215-489-4900). They have been working with individuals on these types of cases.

I hope this helps. Please do consult your own physician for more detailed and specific guidance on your own case as they will likely be best suited to answer specific questions.

Best,
Richard

Oh, I’m not worried about being discriminated against. The rescue squad I volunteer for is in full support and does not see any issue with it. I’m just struggling with the fact of being 24 and not being able to drink. I’ve from an area in Ohio where all we do is drink. Going out to the bar after work was my routine on Fridays. I just hate how my life is being controlled by this and being completely flipped upside down. It’s hard. I hate to vent, but it is what it is I guess. I can’t let it control me physically.

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Hi Pete,

I totally get it. Over the years we have had many express the exact same sentiment. Why me? What did I do? How is this going to affect my life? People were looking for a place to get answers, some comfort and sometimes someone just to vent to who gets it. These are the main reasons we created this website. You can also see other people’s real stories about living with Hep B at https://www.hepb.org/research-and-programs/patient-story-telling-project/

In terms of the drinking, your doctor will know best. We have other patient advocates that were diagnosed years and years ago and are able to enjoy a few drinks here and there. Each case is personal. I recommend you have a very frank and honest discussion with your physician and support system about what you want to do and what is healthiest. I hope this helps and if you want to continue this conversation please feel free to contact me at richard.so@sfhepbfree-bayarea.org. We generally encourage users to move the conversation to email so that you dont reveal too much personal information on a forum.

All the best,
Richard

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I appreciate your feedback. This has helped tremendously and hope to keep up the good spirits. I appreciate all that you have done to help me cope and just to let me vent. Thank you!

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Hey Pete,

No problem. Just make sure your liver health is managed and you are going in for those extra tests and ultrasound if needed. Keep taking your meds as directed by your doctor and there is a really high likelihood that you’ll live a full normal, healthy life. Lastly, make sure you discuss your HBV status with anyone you get into a relationship with. They will want to be vaccinated (super easy and cheap).

I hope I can do that. My first ultrasound showed no inflammation or cirrhosis. Which is good. My ALT were slightly elevated. Nothing of grave concern. Hopefully I can keep it that way and keep healthy. What are your thoughts in ThervacB. I understand they are looking at clinical trials next year and I also understand that this potential cure, if meeting all expectations could take a couple of years to market, but do you think this could be fast tracked or will it have to take 10-15 years to get on the market? What are your thoughts on said development? I would love to hear what you have to say.

Hi Pete,
We haven’t been following cure treatment closely and we do not have experts on that subject so we can’t comment directly on it. We do know, as you probably know, that many firms in the US and worldwide are looking for a Hep B cure which is great. You may find more answers if you contact the Hep B Foundation who have additional knowledge info@hepb.org.

By the way, could you let us know how you found your way to this online support group?

Thanks

Hello,
I was just doing some researching online and stumbled across this site and thought I would try it out and all in all, I am very pleased.

Hi Pete,

Very cool. Please pass our forum along to anyone you know and feel free to reach out to me anytime. By the way I got more info regarding cures!

Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) maintains a Hepatitis B Drug Watch Page, which tracks currently available treatments along with those that are in various stages of development. We get a number of inquiries on the status of “cure”. We’re probably about 2-3 years away with a couple of the first candidates – assuming they continue to remain both safe and effective. Most likely a functional cure (durable loss of HBsAg, viral suppression, normalization of liver enzymes) will involve a combination of therapies. HBF also provides updates on drug candidates as they are published on our Facebook Page, if your consult is interested when data is released.

ThervacB is a therapeutic vaccine developed in Germany that is currently in pre-clinical development under the leadership of Dr. Ulrike Protzer. It was very successful in eliminating hep B in mouse models, which is encouraging but still very early. I know they were hoping for phase 1 to start soon, but wonder if that has been delayed due to the pandemic.

Let me know if you have additional questions.