Effectiveness of chronic hepatitis C treatment in drug users in routine clinical practice: results of a prospective cohort study.
ABSTRACT Injection drug users are often excluded from hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. This study compares sustained virological response, adherence, and quality of life in patients with or without a history of illicit drug use in routine clinical practice.
This is a post-hoc analysis of a prospective, observational study conducted in 1860 patients who received peginterferon alpha-2b/ribavirin combination therapy. Nondrug users (NDUs) were defined as patients without a history of drug addiction; former drug users (FDUs) as patients who had stopped using illicit drugs or opioid maintenance therapy and active drug users (ADUs) as patients using illicit drugs or on opioid maintenance therapy. Virological response, adherence, and the health-related quality of life were assessed by the measure of HCV RNA in the serum, self-report and 36-item short-form health survey Questionnaire, respectively.
The analyzed population included 1038 (56%) NDUs, 578 (31%) FDUs, and 244 (13%) ADUs. About 85% of ADUs were on opioid maintenance therapy and 25% used illicit drugs. Although ADUs had a more chaotic lifestyle and more psychiatric disorders, sustained virological response of ADUs (58%) did not differ from that of NDUs (49%) and FDUs (51%) (P=0.133). Adherence rates were 39% in NDUs and FDUs, and 37% in ADUs (P=0.883). Health-related quality of life was improved in the three groups after the end of treatment.
Our study suggests that HCV therapy in ADUs on opioid maintenance therapy is as effective as in other HCV patients. The effectiveness of HCV therapy in illicit drug users needs to be evaluated in further studies.
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ABSTRACT: In this decade, an increase is expected in end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, most commonly caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Although people who inject drugs (PWID) are the major source for HCV infection, they were excluded from antiviral treatments until recently. Nowadays there is incontrovertible evidence in favor of treating these patients, and substitution therapy and active substance use are no longer contraindications for antiviral treatment. The viral clearance in PWID after HCV antiviral treatment with interferon or pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin is comparable to the viral clearance in non-substance users. Furthermore, multidisciplinary approaches to delivering treatment to PWID are advised, and their treatment should be considered on an individualized basis. To prevent the spread of HCV in the PWID community, recent active PWID are eligible for treatment in combination with needle exchange programs and substitution therapy. As the rate of HCV reinfection is low after HCV antiviral treatment, there is no need to withhold HCV treatment due to concerns about reinfection alone. Despite the advances in treatment efficacies and data supporting their success, HCV assessment of PWID and initiation of antiviral treatment remains low. However, the proportion of PWID assessed and treated for HCV is increasing, which can be further enhanced by understanding the barriers to and facilitators of HCV care. Removing stigmatization and implementing peer support and group treatment strategies, in conjunction with greater involvement by nurse educators/practitioners, will promote greater treatment seeking and adherence by PWID. Moreover, screening can be facilitated by noninvasive methods for detecting HCV antibodies and assessing liver fibrosis stages. Recently, HCV clearance has become a major endpoint in the war against drugs for the Global Commission on Drug Policy. This review highlights the most recent evidence concerning HCV infection and treatment strategies in PWID.World Journal of Gastroenterology 09/2014; 20(36):12722-12733. DOI:10.3748/wjg.v20.i36.12722 · 2.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents a major global health problem, which in high-income countries now mostly affects people who inject drugs (PWID). Many studies show that the treatment of HCV infection is as successful among PWID as among other populations and recently PWID have been included in the international guidelines for the treatment of HCV infection. The aim of this survey was to collect data from European countries on the existence of national strategies, action plans and clinical guidelines for HCV treatment in the general population and PWID in particular.BMC Infectious Diseases 09/2014; 14(Suppl 6):S14. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-14-S6-S14 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Where active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is accessible, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a survivable illness and effective ART can reduce HIV transmission. Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) has emerged as a threat to the survival of individuals harboring both HCV and HIV, due to high prevalence and aggressive disease course. The HCV/HIV coinfection epidemic has been driven by people who inject drugs (PWID), although incident HCV is rising among HIV-infected men who have sex with men in the absence of drug injection. Coinfected individuals warrant aggressive treatment of both viruses; although early ART initiation is recommended to reduce the rate of liver disease progression, the most effective way to decrease HCV-related morbidity and mortality in coinfection is to achieve HCV viral eradication. Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) agents will soon revolutionize HCV treatment. Clinical data are needed regarding the efficacy of DAAs in coinfected PWID. Drug-drug interaction studies between ART, DAAs, and opiate substitution therapy must be expedited. Coinfected PWID should have equitable and universal access to HIV/AIDS, HCV, and addiction prevention, care, and treatment. Essential basic steps include improving screening for both infections and engaging coinfected PWID in HIV and HCV care early after diagnoses. Developing strategies to expand access to HCV therapy for coinfected PWID is imperative to stem the HCV epidemic and limit the morbidity and mortality of those at greatest risk for HCV disease progression. The ultimate goal must be the elimination of HCV from all coinfected PWID.Clinical Infectious Diseases 07/2013; 57(suppl 2):S118-S124. DOI:10.1093/cid/cit326 · 9.42 Impact Factor