HIV ~ HCV News

Be notified of
page updates
it's private
powered by



3/18/05 - Peginterferon Alfa-2a (Pegasys) Does Not Alter the Pharmacokinetics of Methadone

[ Read More ]

Adherence to Hepatitis C Treatment among Recovering Heroin Users on Methadone Maintenance  

Because hepatitis C virus (HCV) is easily transmitted via contaminated needles and other drug injection equipment, a large proportion of injection drug users (IDUs) have chronic hepatitis C.


However, IDUs are often denied treatment for hepatitis C due to concerns about adherence. This is the case despite limited and conflicting data about the impact on adherence of issues such as psychiatric conditions and concurrent illegal drug use. HCV treatment guidelines state that IDUs should not be excluded from treatment as a group, but that each individual should be evaluated for treatment on a case-by-case basis.


Some past studies have produced good sustained response rates for IDUs treated with interferon-based therapy, but results from clinical trials do not always carry over into “real world” settings.


As reported in the September 2007 issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Diana Sylvestre, MD, from the University of California at San Francisco and colleagues evaluated the impact of mental health issues, active drug use, and other potential adherence barriers in a real-world sample of recovering drug users on methadone maintenance therapy.


The prospective observational study included 71 patients on methadone maintenance who received interferon plus ribavirin combination therapy in a community-based clinic staffed by providers with expertise in treating addiction disorders. Adherence was assessed using monthly interviews, medication counts, and urine toxicology testing.




·         Overall, 48 patients (68%) were adherent to anti-HCV therapy.

·         Adherent patients were significantly more likely than non-adherent patients to achieve a sustained virological response (42% vs 4%, respectively).

·         Patients with and without a prior psychiatric history had similar rates of adherence (64% vs 72%, respectively; P > 0.5).

·         Initiation of new psychiatric medications during HCV treatment was associated with improved adherence overall (P = 0.02) and in patients that did not have a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis (P = 0.04).

·         There was a trend towards reduced adherence in patients without a period of drug abstinence before starting HCV treatment compared with those who had been abstinent for at least 1 month (46% vs 72%; P = 0.10).

·         Although occasional drug users were similarly adherent compared with those who were completely abstinent, patients who relapsed to regular drug use showed a significantly lower level of adherence (P = 0.03).




“We conclude that the majority of methadone-maintained drug users can adhere to HCV treatment, even those with psychiatric illness and relatively limited pretreatment drug abstinence,” the study authors wrote.


“Lack of pre-HCV treatment drug abstinence and regular drug use during HCV treatment may be relative barriers to medication adherence, but the initiation of psychiatric medications during HCV treatment may be a helpful intervention,” they added.


They concluded that, “This report provides further evidence for an individualized approach to HCV treatment that does not categorically exclude patients with potential barriers such as mental illness and limited drug abstinence.”



DL Sylvestre and BJ Clements. Adherence to hepatitis C treatment in recovering heroin users maintained on methadone. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 19(9): 741-747. September 2007.
With permission from

2008 Viral Hepatitis Health Leadership Summit

WHEN: Friday, June 20, 2008
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

WHERE: Sheraton Four Points Baltimore
Conference Center, BWI Airport

All are welcome: patients, professionals, caregivers and anyone else who has an interest in Hepatitis and liver health, patient advocacy, and the newest trends in the treatment of Hepatitis C. There will be some great topics covered and some very knowledgeable speakers.

So be proactive! This is a chance to educate ourselves so that we can, in turn, educate others, including our health care providers!

*  CEUs will be available for nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and substance abuse counselors.

For complete agenda and list of speakers go to:

For registration form, CLICK HERE

**Some excellent articles from the Hepatitis C Association website**

Treating Methadone Patients

Is Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Feasible in Patients on Methadone

Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics and Antiviral Response in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Infection on Methadone Maintenance Therapy Receiving Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a)

Liver transplantation for patients on methadone maintenance

Treating the Methadone Patient

Treatment for Hepatitis C in Substance Users
Dr. Diana Sylvestre

Although injection drug users comprise the majority of cases of infection with hepatitis, most of these individuals do not undergo treatment because of physician concerns about adherence, treatment efficacy and reinfection.

Still, based on growing evidence that injection drug users can successfully undergo treatment for chronic hepatitis C, the 2002 National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on Hepatitis C  recommended that substance users, even those with ongoing drug use, should be considered for treatment for HCV infection on a case-by-case basis.



I received the information below in an email from We know that any person with HCV (or other liver diseases) should not eat raw or undercooked shellfish, but it seems like the message is not getting out to the HCV or liver communities. Please feel free to forward to anyone interested...Carol

The following is from the Arizona Health Department - (602) 364-3199 fax

*FYI* - We have had two deaths in AZ from raw oysters. Both people Hepatitis C (HCV) positive.

Here are the details on our two deaths related to Vibrio Vulnificus in Arizona. The first one was a 45 year old male that resided in Pima County and became ill 05/02/2006, and passed away 05/06/2006. He had a history of HCV, hepatic cirrhosis, and alcohol abuse. He was seen in the ER on 05/05/2006 due to SOB, fluid retention in chest, 2-3 day history of increasing edema and jaundice. Per family, case consumed oysters always. Oysters were purchased from unlicensed vendor in Tucson.

The second death was a case that resided in Maricopa County. He was a 58 year old man that became ill on 06/17/2006 and passed away on 06/19/2006. His only pre-existing condition was Hepatitis C. Per family, this case had eaten raw oysters at a restaurant while visiting Memphis, TN on 06/15-06/16/2006. The Tennessee Department of Health has been notified of the case's exposure and they will follow-up. The wife of this man is a nurse and was very concerned that she had never heard people with Hepatitis should avoid eating raw oysters. While this is thought to be general knowledge, eating raw oysters can be harmful to your health, I am not sure that the specific fact of having HCV and the increased risk of dying when infected with Vibrio may not be presented to HCV carriers.

If you have any questions or need more details, please let me know.

Thank you,

Laura Nathan
Christina L. Hurst, MSW
Arizona Department of Health Services
Office of Infectious Diseases
150 N. 18th Ave, Suite 140
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602 364-3662 office


Provided by MedicineNet

Provided by MedicineNet

[ Home ] [ What is Methadone? ] [ URGENT ISSUES!! ] [ Methadone Anonymous ] [ Meetings by State ] [SUPPORT CHATROOM ] [ Buprenorphine ] [ Forums ] [ HCV/HIV News ] [ Methadone News ] [ Resources/Links ] [Creative Recovery ] [Around the World ] [Events ] [Recovery Stories ] [Advisory Board ] [ Methadone Pregnancy Info. ] [ ADVOCACY ]

Copyright © 2005 BARBSHOL