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Perceived barriers to hepatitis C therapy for patients receiving opioid agonist treatment.

Zickmund SL, Campbell SA, Tirado CF, Zook CL, Weinrieb RM. Perceived barriers to hepatitis C therapy for patients receiving opioid agonist treatment. Journal of addiction medicine. 2012 Sep 1; 6(3):233-9.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: To explore attitudes toward hepatitis C antiviral therapy in a real-world setting, we asked patients in opioid agonist treatment who were offered antiviral therapy about perceived barriers to initiating therapy. METHODS: We recruited patients in opioid agonist treatment who had previously been offered cost-free hepatitis C antiviral therapy in a clinical trial. We collected demographic and open-ended interview data. The semistructured interview guide included questions about attitudes toward hepatitis C therapy and barriers to initiating treatment. Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. We used the qualitative editing method to analyze the interview transcripts. RESULTS: We enrolled 19 patients who had been approached to initiate hepatitis C therapy in a clinical trial. All participants were low-income men, with one third self-identifying as racial minorities. When asked about possible barriers to treatment, multiple problems emerged, including the fear of treatment side effects, difficulties with health care providers, limited access to medical care and health information, and misperceptions about antiviral therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Despite intense educational efforts, concerns over antiviral therapy, relations with providers, and access to the health care system remain critical barriers. These factors should be addressed to improve antiviral therapy rates for patients receiving opioid agonist treatment.





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