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The Impact of Hepatitis C Virus Infection on Methadone Maintenance Treatment

The Impact of Hepatitis C Virus Infection on Methadone Maintenance Treatment

  1. Rob Cypher
    Hepatitis C virus infection is now recognized as a common and serious complication of injection drug
    use and will be encountered frequently in methadone maintenance patients. Approximately 1.8% of
    the United States population, or 3.9 million persons, are infected with hepatitis C virus. A majority of
    acute hepatitis C virus infections are associated with injection drug use, and 64 – 88% of injection drug
    users in seroprevalence studies have antibodies to hepatitis C. Hepatitis C virus infection is almost
    always chronic, and alcohol use increases the clinical severity. Therapy with interferon and ribavirin
    will induce long-term remission in up to 43% of patients with hepatitis C virus infection. Proper diag-
    nosis and treatment of hepatitis C virus infection will be indicated for many patients in methadone pro-
    grams and will require considerable resources.

    (copyright 2000 THE MOUNT SINAI JOURNAL OF MEDICINE)