Journal Article

Hepatitis C Treatment for Injection Drug Users: A Review of the Available Evidence

Margaret Hellard, Rachel Sacks-Davis and Judy Gold

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 49, issue 4, pages 561-573
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/600304
Hepatitis C Treatment for Injection Drug Users: A Review of the Available Evidence

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Globally, ∼90% of new hepatitis C infections are attributed to injection drug use, but there is a continuing reluctance to treat injection drug users (IDUs). There is evidence that a sizeable proportion of IDUs who begin hepatitis C treatment achieve a sustained virological response (SVR). In chronic hepatitis C treatment trials, the SVR rate among IDUs appears to be comparable to rates among non-IDUs; in trials prescribing pegylated interferon plus ribavirin, the median rate of SVR among IDUs was 54.3% (range, 18.1%–94.1%), compared with 54%–63% in the large treatment trials. Few trials of acute hepatitis C treatment report on outcomes in IDUs; however, among these trials, the SVR among IDUs was 68.5% (n=89), compared with 81.5% among non-IDUs (n=65). Additional studies are required to determine the optimal circumstances for treatment (e.g., enrollment in drug treatment, the requirement of a period of abstinence from injection drug use, or the establishment of multidisciplinary treatment programs).

Journal Article.  5883 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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