Recent guidelines of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the European Association for the Study of the Liver, and the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver 2008 update of the "Asian-Pacific consensus statement on the management of chronic hepatitis B" offer comprehensive recommendations for the general management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB). These recommendations highlight preferred approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of CHB. Nonetheless, the results of recent studies have led to an improved understanding of the disease and a belief that current recommendations on specific therapeutic considerations, including CHB treatment initiation and cessation criteria, particularly in patient populations with special circumstances, can be improved. Twelve experts from the Asia-Pacific region formed the Asia-Pacific Panel Recommendations for the Optimal Management of Chronic Hepatitis B (APPROACH) Working Group to review, challenge, and assess relevant new data and inform future updates of CHB treatment guidelines. The significance of and controversy about reported findings were discussed and debated in an expert meeting of the Working Group in Beijing, China, in November 2008. This review paper attempts to identify areas requiring improved CHB management and provide suggestions for future guideline updates, with special emphasis on treatment initiation and duration.
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