The impact of barriers to hepatitis C virus treatment in recovering heroin users maintained on methadone

Diana L. Sylvestre, Alain H. Litwin, Barry J. Clements, Marc N. Gourevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although most cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are associated with injection drug use, there are few data regarding the impact of putative barriers such as psychiatric disease and intercurrent drug use on HCV treatment outcomes. To define the impact of characteristics often cited as reasons for withholding HCV treatment, we studied HCV treatment in a real world sample of 76 recovering heroin users maintained on methadone. Overall, 21 (28%) had a sustained virological response and 18 (24%) discontinued treatment early. Although there was a modest decrement in response rates in patients reporting a preexisting psychiatric history (p = .01), neither intercurrent drug use nor short duration of pretreatment drug abstinence led to significant reductions in virological outcomes (p = .09 and p = .18, respectively.) We conclude that injection drug users can be safely and effectively treated for HCV despite multiple barriers to treatment when they are treated in a setting that can address their special needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005



  • Abstinence
  • Barrier
  • Drug use
  • Hepatitis C
  • Psychiatric disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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