Promoting Access to Hepatitis C Treatment via Integration with Methadone Maintenance Programs
Opioid-dependent patients who are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) should, but seldom do, receive HCV treatment. This retrospective observational study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of integrating HCV evaluation and treatment into a methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) program. Medical records of all patients who enrolled in MMT during the first 2 years of integrated HCV evaluation and treatment were reviewed (N=291). Of the 188 MMT patients (65%) who screened positive for HCV-antibody, 159 were eligible to receive further HCV evaluation and treatment based on insurance status,* and 125 accepted.
- Eighty-three (66%) patients were found to have chronic HCV infection, and 21 of 83 (25%) initiated treatment.
- Sustained virologic response (i.e., undetectable viral load 6 months following treatment) was achieved in 8 of 21 patients (38%) who initiated treatment.
- Seventeen patients had contraindications to HCV treatment, and 45 patients opted to forego or delay treatment, most commonly due to personal choice (29 of 45 patients).