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Methadone programs can be key in educating, treating HCV patients
Date:5/16/2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. People who inject drugs and are enrolled in a drug treatment program are receptive to education about, and treatment for, hepatitis C virus, according to a study by researchers at several institutions, including the University at Buffalo.

That finding, published online this week in the Journal of Addiction Medicine will be welcome news to health care providers. The paper notes that injection drug use is a primary mode of infection, making for an HCV infection prevalence as high as 80 percent among people who inject drugs.

"One of the most important findings of this work is that people who inject drugs do want to be educated about the disease and that education is associated with willingness to be treated," says senior author Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at UB and adjunct associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. First author is Marija Zeremski, PhD, senior research associate in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and research assistant professor of medicine at UB.

Talal and colleagues previously demonstrated that treatment of addiction significantly enhances the ability of people who use drugs to complete HCV therapy.

"These new findings support the premise that addiction-treatment facilities can help provide sustained HCV treatment for this population," Talal says. "These facilities have the added advantage of being able to link HCV care to drug treatment, allowing for closer patient evaluation, which will likely lead to improved adherence to treatment regimens."

HCV infection often is asymptomatic, but 75 to 80 percent of those infected will develop chronic infection that can progress to liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer, potentially requiring liver transplantation as a life-saving intervention. However, in order to be considered for a liver transplant, people who use drugs must remai
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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-4605
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

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