New and Noteworthy
High risk of Hep C among Vancouver street youth
From 2005 to 2011, 940 youth were recruited into the At-Risk Youth Study. All youth completed an initial Hep C test and just over 10% were found to be Hep C positive. Of the 512 Hep C-negative youth who were retested every six months, just over 10% were found to be Hep C positive.
Daily injection of heroin, cocaine or crystal meth was linked to getting hepatitis C but injecting opiates was not. Only a small number of participants were injecting opiates.
According to the researchers, “the study highlights challenges in making drug prevention, treatment and harm reduction services accessible to street youth, who are a transient and difficult-to-reach population…effective services are often developed for adult drug users and may be less accessible to this population.”(cfenet.ubc.ca, July 2014, in English)
Interferon-free treatment effective for people taking methadone or buprenorphine
A small study shows people with hepatitis C who are taking methadone or buprenorphine to manage their opiate use can be effectively treated with Abbvie’s 3D combination plus ribavirin, reported researchers at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Of the 38 people who participated in the study, 37 (97%) were cured of hepatitis C. The majority of participants were male and white and most had minimal liver damage.
The Abbvie 3D combination, which was taken with ribavirin, includes:
- ABT-450 (once daily)
- Ombitasvir boosted with ritonavir (once daily)
- Dasabuvir (twice daily)
Previous studies have found that these medications had no notable effect on methadone or buprenorphine levels in the body. No participants required an adjustment of their methadone or buprenorphine medication.
The most common side effects reported were:
The researchers also noted that the participants demonstrated “very good adherence,” indicating that concerns about people who use drugs being unable to stay on therapy are not a reason to withhold treatment with effective new interferon-free regimens. (aidsmap.com, July 2014, in English)
High cure rates for people coinfected with Hep C and HIV when treated with sofosbuvir and ribavirin
In a late-stage trial of sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and ribavirin for people co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV, cure rates ranged from 84% to 90%, reported researchers at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Participants had hepatitis C virus genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Most participants were also taking HIV treatment.
Participants received either 12 or 24 weeks of treatment depending on their genotype and if they had previously been treated.
“HCV genotype 1-4 treatment-naive and experienced HIV coinfected patients achieved high rates of SVR12 with 12 or 24 weeks of an interferon-free, oral regimen of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin,” the researchers wrote. “Treatment was well tolerated and safely co-administered with multiple ART regimens.” (Healio.com, July 2014, in English)