High rates of sustained virological response in hepatitis C virus-infected injection drug users receiving directly observed therapy with peginterferon alpha-2a (40KD) (PEGASYS) and once-daily ribavirin
This retrospective study evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of directly observed therapy with peginterferon alfa-2a and once-daily ribavirin (RBV) for chronic hepatitis C in 49 opioid-addicted injection drug users (IDUs) participating in a drug treatment program at a specialized outpatient center. Patients also received prophylactic citalopram to minimize the risk of interferon-induced depression. Patients had daily access to and support from specialist physicians, nurses and counseling services at the center, and a 24-hour helpline. Sustained virological response was achieved by 48 of 49 patients (98%) overall, including 20 of 21 (95%) hepatitis C virus (HCV) Genotype 1/4-infected patients and 28 of 28 (100%) Genotype 2/3-infected patients. Treatment was well tolerated, and no unexpected side effects of peginterferon treatment were seen. The safety profile of once-daily RBV was not different from twice-daily dosing. Decline in hemoglobin levels was similar to those reported in clinical trials including once-daily RBV and did not lead to dose reduction or treatment withdrawal. Our data demonstrate that HCV-infected IDUs on stable L-polamidone (methadone) or buprenorphine maintenance can be successfully and safely treated with peginterferon alfa-2a and RBV in an optimal substitution setting.
"Since methadone-maintained drug users attend opiate agonist treatment programs up to six days per week, it is feasible to observe oral ingestion of daily ribavirin, to which adherence may be particularly important for achieving sustained viral response [7-9]. However, DOT for HCV has only recently been evaluated [10,11], and, to our knowledge, no randomized trial has evaluated both directly observed pegylated interferon and directly observed ribavirin administered on-site in a methadone clinic. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most methadone-maintained injection drug users (IDUs) have been infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), but few initiate HCV treatment. Physicians may be reluctant to treat HCV in IDUs because of concerns about treatment adherence, psychiatric comorbidity, or ongoing drug use. Optimal HCV management approaches for IDUs remain unknown. We are conducting a randomized controlled trial in a network of nine methadone clinics with onsite HCV care to determine whether modified directly observed therapy (mDOT), compared to treatment as usual (TAU), improves adherence and virologic outcomes among opioid users.
We plan to enroll 80 HCV-infected adults initiating care with pegylated interferon alfa-2a (IFN) plus ribavirin, and randomize them to mDOT (directly observed daily ribavirin plus provider-administered weekly IFN) or TAU (self-administered ribavirin plus provider-administered weekly IFN). Our outcome measures are: 1) self-reported and pill count adherence, and 2) end of treatment response (ETR) or sustained viral response (SVR). We will use mixed effects linear models to assess differences in pill count adherence between treatment arms (mDOT v. TAU), and we will assess differences between treatment arms in the proportion of subjects with ETR or SVR with chi square tests. Of the first 40 subjects enrolled: 21 have been randomized to mDOT and 19 to TAU. To date, the sample is 77% Latino, 60% HCV genotype-1, 38% active drug users, and 27% HIV-infected. Our overall retention rate at 24 weeks is 92%, 93% in the mDOT arm and 92% in the TAU arm.
This paper describes the design and rationale of a randomized clinical trial comparing modified directly observed HCV therapy delivered in a methadone program to on-site treatment as usual. Our trial will allow rigorous evaluation of the efficacy of directly observed HCV therapy (both pegylated interferon and ribavirin) for improving adherence and clinical outcomes. This detailed description of trial methodology can serve as a template for the development of future DOT programs, and can also guide protocols for studies among HCV-infected drug users receiving methadone for opiate dependence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment has shown to be effective, uptake of treatment among active drug users is still low. The Drug Users Treatment for Chronic Hepatitis-C project aims to offer active drug users in Amsterdam HCV testing and treatment using a multidisciplinary approach.
The study population comprises drug users participating in the Amsterdam Cohort Studies and drug users referred to the Drug Users Treatment for Chronic Hepatitis-C unit. Drug users were offered HCV testing and, if chronically infected, medical and psychiatric screening and HCV treatment. Various specialists collaborated to provide optimal care. We assessed test-uptake and treatment-uptake and outcomes.
Four hundred and ninety-seven Amsterdam Cohort Studies drug users were offered HCV testing: 449 out of 497 (90%) accepted. HCV antibodies were found in 267 out of 449 (60%): 183 out of 267 (69%) were HCV-viremic and 49 out of 183 (27%) were HIV-co-infected. Of the 134 HCV-monoinfected patients, 102 (76%) initiated additional medical screening and 44 started treatment by 1 July 2009. Sixty-two drug users referred from methadone clinics were also HCV-monoinfected, of whom 14 started treatment by 1 July 2009. In total 58 persons were treated: 16 (27%) with genotype 1 or 4, 42 (72%) with genotype 2 or 3. Eighty-four percent used methadone, 97% used drugs (heroin, cocaine or amphetamine) at least once in the 6 months before treatment, 19% were active injectors. Sixty-two percent used alcohol, 41% had psychiatric disease other than substance abuse. Of the 57 individuals with sufficient follow-up, 37 (65%) achieved sustained virological response.
In a multidisciplinary setting, HIV-negative drug users with chronic HCV infection can be treated successfully despite active drug or alcohol use and psychiatric diseases. Therefore, access to HCV therapy using an integrated approach should be increased for this population.
European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 10/2010; 23(1):23-31. DOI:10.1097/MEG.0b013e328340c451 · 2.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The linkage between drug use, particularly injection drug use, and HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C (HCV), and tuberculosis (TB) has been recognized since the beginning of the HIV pandemic. These comorbid conditions affect drug users worldwide and act synergistically, with resultant adverse biologic, epidemiologic, and clinical consequences. Prevention, care, and treatment of TB and HCV can be successful, and both diseases can be cured. Special clinical challenges among drug users, however, can result in increased morbidity, mortality, and decreased therapeutic success. Among these are limited disease screening, inadequate and insensitive diagnostics, difficult treatment regimens with varying toxicities, and complicated pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug interactions. These may result in delayed diagnosis, deferred treatment initiation, and low completion rates, with the potential for generation and transmission of drug resistant organisms. Strategies to address these challenges include outreach programs to engage substance abusers in nonmedical settings, such as prisons and the streets, active screening programs for HIV, HCV, and TB, increased and broadened clinician expertise, knowledge and avoidance of drug interactions, attention to infection control, use of isoniazid preventive therapy, and creative strategies to insure medication adherence. All of these require structural changes directed at comprehensive prevention and treatment programs and increased collaboration and integration of needed services for substance abusers.
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