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Home > Exploring patient characteristics and barriers to hepatitis C treatment in patients on opioid substitution treatment attending a community based fibro-scanning clinic.

Crowley, Des and Cullen, Walter and Laird, Eamon and Lambert, John S and Mc Hugh, Tina and Murphy, Carol and Van Hout, Marie Claire (2017) Exploring patient characteristics and barriers to hepatitis C treatment in patients on opioid substitution treatment attending a community based fibro-scanning clinic. Journal of Translational Internal Medicine , 5 , (2) , pp. 112-119.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC55064...

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major public health issue. There is substandard uptake in HCV assessment and treatment among people who inject drugs (PWID). Community fibroscanning is used to assess disease severity and target treatment.

METHODS: A survey was administered to a cohort of chronically HCV infected patients attending a community fibroscanning clinic. Questions targeted diagnosis of HCV, suitability, willingness and barriers to engagement in treatment. Descriptive and regression analysis, with thematic analysis of open-ended data was conducted.

RESULTS: There was high acceptance of community fibroscanning among this cohort with over 90% (68) attending. High levels of unemployment (90%) and homelessness (40%) were identified. Most patients were on methadone treatment and had been HCV infected for greater than 10 years with length of time since HCV diagnosis being significantly longer in patients with fibroscan scores > 8.5 kPa (P = 0.016). With each unit increase in methadone dose, the odds of the >8.5 fibroscan group increased by 5.2%. Patient identified barriers to engagement were alcohol and drug use, fear of HCV treatment and liver biopsy, imprisonment, distance to hospital and early morning appointments.

CONCLUSION: The study highlights the usefulness of community fibroscanning. Identifying barriers to treatment in this cohort affords an opportunity to increase the treatment uptake. The availability of afternoon clinics and enhanced prison linkage are warranted.


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