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Background and Objectives: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease worldwide. People who inject drugs (PWIDs) constitute the majority of patients with HCV infection in the United States and Central Asia. There are several obstacles to treating HCV infection in PWIDs because PWIDs are often accompanied by concurrent infection, low compliance, substance abuse, and risky behavior. The aim of the study is to compare the efficacies of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for HCV infection in PWIDs and those without opioid injection. Materials and Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we included 53 PWIDs with HCV infections treated on site in a methadone program and 106 age- and sex-matched patients with HCV infections who had no history of opioid injection (ratio of 1:2). All eligible subjects received anti-HCV treatment by DAA agents in our hospital from March 2018 to December 2020. The charts of these patients were carefully reviewed for demographic data, types of DAA agents, and treatment outcomes. The primary outcome measure was sustained virological response (SVR). Results: PWIDs and non-drug users had different HCV genotype profiles (p = 0.013). The former had higher proportions of genotype 3 (18.9% vs. 7.5%) and genotype 6 (24.5% vs. 14.2%) than the latter. The two patient groups had comparable rates of complete drug refilling (100.0% vs. 91.1%) and frequency of loss to follow-up (3.8% vs. 0.9%). However, PWIDs had a lower SVR rate of DAA treatment than non-drug users (92.2% vs. 99.0%; p = 0.04). Further analysis showed that both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection and history of PWID were risk factors associated with treatment failure. The subjects with coinfection with HIV had lower SVR rates than those without HIV infection (50.0% vs. 96.5%; p = 0.021). Conclusions: PWIDs with HCV infections have higher proportions of HCV genotype 3 and genotype 6 than non-drug users with infections. DAA therapy can achieve a high cure rate (>90%) for HCV infection in PWID, but its efficacy in PWID is lower than that in non-drug users.


Jui-Ting Hsu, Ping-I Hsu, Chang-Bih Shie, Seng-Kee Chuah, I-Ting Wu, Wen-Wei Huang, Sheng-Yeh Tang, Kun-Feng Tsai, Li-Fu Kuo, Supratip Ghose, Jui-Che Hsu, Chih-An Shih. Comparison of the Efficacies of Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment for HCV Infection in People Who Inject Drugs and Non-Drug Users. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania). 2022 Mar 17;58(3)

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PMID: 35334612

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