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Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Sep;47:61-68. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.027. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

High hepatitis C incidence in relation to prescription opioid injection and poly-drug use: Assessing barriers to hepatitis C prevention.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 5858 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Suite 300, Montréal, QC H3S 1Z1, Canada; Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X0A9, Canada.
2
Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, 1111 rue St-Charles Ouest, Suite 500, Longueuil, QC J4 K 5G4, Canada; Institut National de Santé Publique, 190 Crémazie Blvd. E, Montréal, QC H2P 1E2, Canada.
3
Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X0A9, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada.
4
Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X0A9, Canada; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada.
5
Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X0A9, Canada.
6
Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X0A9, Canada; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada. Electronic address: julie.bruneau@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prescription opioid (PO) injection and poly-drug use have been associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among people who inject drugs (PWID). Poly-drug use is often a barrier to key HCV preventive programmes including opioid agonist treatment. The contribution of specific drug combinations to high HCV incidence in poly-drug users has not been assessed previously. Addressing this knowledge gap could enhance HCV treatment and prevention efforts. We examined the association between specific drugs and number of drugs used in addition to injected POs, and HCV seroconversion.

METHODS:

PWID participating in a cohort study in Montréal (HEPCO), HCV-seronegative at baseline and followed between 2004 and 2013, were included. Data were collected by interview-administered questionnaires. Blood samples were tested for HCV new infections at each 3-6 month follow-up visit. Time-varying Cox regression models were utilized.

RESULTS:

Of 356 participants (81.5% males; mean age: 34.7 years), 123 (34.6%) reported injected POs in the past month at baseline. In univariate analyses, recent use of the following drugs was associated with HCV seroconversion: injected POs, injected cocaine, injected heroin, non-injected tranquilisers, and smoked crack/cocaine. The relative excess risk of HCV seroconversion due to interaction (RER1HR) was the highest for co-use of injected POs with the following substances: injected cocaine (RER1HR=3.44), smoked crack/cocaine (RER1HR=1.27), and non-injected tranquilisers (RER1HR=0.8). In addition, a significant linear trend (p<0.001) towards higher risk was observed with increasing the number of these three drugs used in combination with injected POs.

CONCLUSION:

Specific drugs and number of drugs used in addition to injected POs play a modulating role in the risk of HCV primary infection. Poly-drug use among people who inject POs has to be addressed in order to improve harm reduction programmes and reduce HCV transmission in this high-risk population.

KEYWORDS:

HCV incidence; Hepatitis C; Injection drug use; Prescription opioids; Prevention; Treatment

PMID:
28666636
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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