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Infection. 2005 Feb;33(1):25-9.

Interferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin 1,000/1,200 mg versus interferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin 600 mg for chronic hepatitis C infection in patients on opiate maintenance treatment: an open-label randomized multicenter trial.

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1
Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland. milo.huber@usz.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Many intravenous opiate users are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) but few are treated. Although this complies with various guidelines, virtually no published evidence supports such a recommendation.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

In a multicenter study, HCV-infected patients in opiate maintenance treatment programs received interferon plus high- or low-dose ribavirin (1,000/1,200 mg or 600 mg). HIV-coinfected patients were not included. Endpoints were feasibility, efficacy, side effects, and reasons for dropout.

RESULTS:

Of the 420 patients who tested positive for HCV, 27 (6%) were enrolled; 393 (94%) either failed to meet the inclusion criteria or refused treatment. Virologic end-of-treatment response was achieved in 12/27 patients, and sustained response in 13/27 (48%). Response depended on viral genotype, not ribavirin dose. The two doses of ribavirin did not differ in their side effects.

CONCLUSION:

In a small fraction of HCV-infected intravenous drug users in an opiate maintenance treatment program, antiviral therapy was feasible, safe, and effective. The success rate was comparable to that achieved in controlled studies that excluded drug users.

PMID:
15750756
DOI:
10.1007/s15010-005-4043-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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