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European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology:
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000076
Original Articles: Hepatitis

Treatment for chronic hepatitis C in a cohort of opiate substitution therapy recipients in three Swedish cities – completion rates and efficacy

Jerkeman, Annaa; Norkrans, Gunnard; Lidman, Christerf; Westin, Johand; Lagging, Martind; Frimand, Janb; Simonsberg, Christiane; Kakko, Johang; Widell, Andersc; Björkman, Pera

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Abstract

Objectives: Opiate substitution treatment (OST) programs could provide opportunities for management of comorbidities, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, in people who inject drugs. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the real-life feasibility of interferon/ribavirin-based HCV treatment in OST recipients, with a special focus on psychiatric status and health-related quality of life.

Methods: Patients from a cohort of OST recipients from three cities in Sweden were selected for HCV treatment on the basis of structured investigation for HCV-related liver disease. Therapy was delivered in collaboration between infectious disease and OST clinics, with monitoring for completion and adherence, treatment response, adverse events, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) (SF-36) and signs of depression (MADRS-S), or relapse into drug abuse. The primary endpoint was completion of prescribed treatment; the secondary endpoints were sustained virological response (SVR), adherence, and incidence of depression.

Results: Among 69 patients with an indication for antiviral therapy, 41 initiated treatment; 34/41 (83%) completed treatment and 19/41 (46%) achieved SVR. Adequate adherence was observed in 29/41 patients (71%). Two serious adverse events occurred, including one death because of liver failure. Baseline scores for self-assessed health were low, with a significant reduction during treatment. Seventy-one percent of patients (29/41) fulfilled the criteria for clinically significant depression at some time point during treatment. Baseline scores for HRQoL/MADRS-S were associated with treatment completion, SVR, and depression during treatment.

Conclusion: Despite the low HRQoL and the high occurrence of depression, HCV treatment was feasible and showed satisfactory rates of completion in this cohort of unselected OST recipients.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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