Providing hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment to injection drug users (IDUs) may reduce the spread of the virus, aidsmap reports.

While many medical providers have been hesitant to prescribe hep C drugs to IDUs for fear they will not ahere well to the regimen, studies are starting to show that those on opioid substitution therapy (OST) have high hep C cure rates.

A collection of researchers presented and discussed information on hep C treatment among IDUs at the 5th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users (INHSU 2016) in Oslo.

The Phase III C-EDGE CO-STAR trial showed that 301 participants on OST—except for a small number of participants with genotype 6 of the virus—had high cure rates taking Zepatier (grazoprevir/elbasvir).

Additionally, an analysis of the Phase III ion trials of Harvoni and the ASTRAL trials of Epclusa (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) found that participants on OST adhered well to the regimens and had high cure rates compared with other participants.

Modeling research has shown that scaling up hep C treatment among IDUs particularly prevents the spread of the virus if there is a low HCV prevalence among local IDUs. While treating older people with HCV who have more advanced liver disease has the greatest impact on liver disease–related sickness and death, it does not greatly impact transmission among IDUs. Conversely, treating HCV in younger, healthier IDUs would have a greater preventive impact because these individuals are more likely to transmit the virus to others.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.