Objectives Patient ignorance and bureaucratic obstacles prevent initiation of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment in patients participating in methadone treatment program. Despite high safety and efficacy of currently available oral medications, the rate of patient-initiated treatment remains low. We evaluated the impact of an interventional program on treatment success rate and factors associated with treatment engagement. Methods An intervention performed from 2018 to 2020 included an on-site Fibroscan and hepatologist evaluation, anti-viral HCV treatment initiation, and close support and follow-up by a dedicated team. Demographic and medical data were collected and comparison between patients who completed vs. patients who did not complete HCV treatment was done. Results Fifty-nine out of 74 HCV polymerase chain reaction-positive patients (79.7%) were willing and capable of undergoing on-site hepatologist and Fibroscan evaluations. Twelve (25%) of the participants had cirrhosis, 2 of whom were decompensated. Fifty of the 57 patients that got an anti-viral medication prescription (87%) initiated the treatment. Premature treatment discontinuation was rare (3 patients), intention-to-treat sustain virologic response (SVR) rate was 81% and per-protocol SVR rate was 97%. The rate of treatment initiation during the intervention was significantly higher than the patients' self-initiation rate (44 vs 12 patients). The main factors associated with successful completion of the care cascade was full abstinence from street drugs for 6 months before treatment initiation. Conclusions Installing a hepatology clinic in an methadone treatment program center was associated with a 3-fold increase in the HCV treatment, with high adherence to treatment levels, and a high SVR rate. The main factor associated with low engagement to treatment was ongoing street drug use.
- HCV care cascade
- hepatitis C treatment
- hepatitis C virus
- methadone maintenance treatment