Concurrent HCV, opioid agonist treatment improves quality of
People who inject drugs experienced sustained increases in health-related quality of life when they were successfully treated for hepatitis C during opioid agonist treatment, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Although efforts to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people who inject drugs (PWID) yield high rates of sustained virologic response (SVR), the relationship between successful HCV treatment and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among PWID is poorly understood. This study examined HRQOL changes throughout HCV treatment and post-treatment for PWID achieving SVR.

Participants included 141 PWID who achieved SVR following HCV treatment onsite at three opioid agonist treatment (OAT) clinics in Bronx, NY. The EQ-5D-3L assesses five health dimensions (mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, anxiety/depression), producing an index of HRQOL ranging from 0-1. EQ-5D-3L was measured at baseline, 4-, 8-, and 12-weeks during treatment and 12- and 24-weeks post-treatment. Linear mixed effects regression models were used to assess changes in the mean EQ-5D-3L index over time.

-- Mean EQ-5D-3L index baseline was 0.66. Whereas over half the population reported no baseline problems with self-care (85.1%), usual activities (56.0%), and mobility (52.5%), at least two-thirds reported problems with pain/discomfort (78.0%) and anxiety/depression (66.0%), with 22.0% and 21.3% reporting extreme problems for pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression, respectively.

-- Twenty-four weeks post-treatment, proportions reporting pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression decreased by 25.7% and 24.0%, respectively.

-- The mean EQ-5D-3L index significantly improved during treatment, and improvement was sustained following treatment completion, with mean EQ-5D-3L index of 0.77 (SE=0.02) 12-weeks post-SVR.

Conclusively, HCV treatment led to sustained improvement in HRQOL for PWID on OAT who achieved SVR. Future research is necessary to determine whether improvements in HRQOL can be sustained beyond 12-weeks post-SVR.