Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HCV therapy for injection drug users

HCV therapy for injection drug users

Concurrent group treatment programme has advantages
The rate of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is high among injection drug users. Although effective therapies for HCV infection are available, uptake is low among drug users due to a complex combination of factors including mistrust of the healthcare system. This paper presents the results of an initiative aiming to overcome the barriers to care.

  • The 42 patients included in the study had history of heroin addiction, 26 of whom were participating in a methadone maintenance treatment programme.
  • Patients were treated for HCV in a concurrent group treatment (CGT) programme which was offered as an alternative to individual therapy.
  • The CGT involved group sessions, with a minimum of 4 participants, which included administration of interferon injections, a physical examination, and meditation. During sessions treatment experience and advice were shared.
  • Most (89%) of patients attended all CGT sessions during the first 12 weeks of treatment.
  • Of the first 27 patients enrolled, a sustained viral response was achieved in 42%.
  • At 24 weeks, 87% of genotype-1 infected patients had achieved an undetectable viral load.
Take-home message
“The CGT model may be effective in overcoming barriers to treatment and improving adherence and outcomes among patients enrolled in drug treatment programs.”



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