Patients who are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus are at an increased risk of developing cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therapeutic intervention offers the only means of interrupting this progression. Currently there are three licensed agents for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection. These are interferon-alpha, an immunomodulator, and two synthetic nucleos(t)ide analogs, namely lamivudine (Epivir, GlaxoSmithKline) and adefovir dipivoxil (Hepsera, Gilead Sciences). This review aims to summarize current experience with these drugs in the treatment and management of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection, their efficacy, and current problems of drug resistance. An outline of future treatment perspectives is also included.