Home > Medications > Hepatitis B: Information for Patients

September 12, 2019 | Medications

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver.  People who get hepatitis B can be quite sick.

How do you get hepatitis B?

It is often spread from one person to another in blood & body fluids.  It can also be spread by having infected blood get into small cuts in your skin.

Am I as risk of getting hepatitis B?

Kidney disease may become a chronic illness.  People with a chronic illness often have weaker immune systems.

Is there a cure for hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B cannot be cured, but it can be prevented.  People with kidney disease should be immunized.  Check with your doctor.

How do I get vaccinated?

First, you will need a blood test to make sure that you do not have hepatitis B & to check for antibodies (or “fighters”) for hepatitis B.  If both of these tests are negative, the vaccine will be ordered.

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccinations will force your body to make antibodies that fight the hepatitis B virus.  The antibodies protect you from getting hepatitis B.

The vaccination is a series of needles recommended to be given over 6 months.  A booster or extra dose may be required.

Are there any side effects from the vaccine?

There are a few side effects.  The most common side effect is soreness where the needle was given.  You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your arms are sore. 

Other side effects are:

  • Joint pain  
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Rash
  • Fever

How much does the vaccination series cost:

It is free for people with kidney disease.

(This sheet contains general information & your symptoms & treatment may vary according to your circumstance.  If you have any specific questions, please contact your nurse, pharmacist, or doctor.)

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