Study: Hepatitis C Drug Reduced Viral Load in Patients with Drug Addictions

The study was designed to "evaluate direct-acting antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C infection in patients on opioid agonist therapy without excluding patients actively using drugs with high abuse potential.

Treatment with 12 weeks of using elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier, Merck) resulted in high rates of sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the completion of therapy, according to a study published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.1

Gregory J. Dore, MD, of The Kirby Institute, in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues published the results from the C-EDGE CO-STAR trial, which was designed to evaluate direct-acting antiviral therapy patients with chronic hepatitis C in patients on opioid agonist therapy.

Dr Dore and colleagues evaluated the treatment in 301 patients who had HCV genotypes 1, 4, or 6 and were at least 80% adherent to their visits with opioid-agonist therapies, and split them into a treatment group for 12 weeks, a deferred treatment group that received placebo, no treatment and then open label treatment for three months. 

The researchers noted that in those patients who received immediate treatment, 184 of 201 patients who got the treatment achieved sustained virological response at the 12 week mark, and results were similar in the deferred treatment group, and most patients were adherent to the therapy, despite ongoing drug use. 


1. Dore GJ, Altice F, Litwin AH, et al.  Elbasvir–Grazoprevir to Treat Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Persons Receiving Opioid Agonist Therapy: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2016;  doi:10.7326/M16-0816.