Hepatitis C Treatment for Multimorbid Patients With Substance Use Disorder in a Primary Care-Based Integrated Treatment Centre: A Retrospective Analysis.

Hepatitis C treatment for multimorbid patients with substance use disorder in a primary care-based integrated treatment centre: a retrospective analysis.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Apr 8;
Brunner N, Senn O, Rosemann T, Falcato L, Bruggmann P

OBJECTIVES/BACKGROUND: The population of people who use drugs (PWUD) has the highest prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in Europe. PWUD are multimorbid patients who are difficult to integrate into existing healthcare systems. In our study, we evaluated the feasibility of providing HCV treatment within opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) programmes offering integrated primary care-based health services under one roof. METHODS: We evaluated 66 charts of patients in four outpatient clinics (OMT) with HCV treatment (between 2002 and 2010). Fourteen of the patients were treated with heroin and nine patients had an HIV coinfection. Data on the socioeconomic characteristics and quality of life were assessed. We counted the number of consultations in the clinic to assess how much supportive care the patients needed. RESULTS: Overall, 62% of all patients (41 out of 66) achieved a sustained virological response (SVR). A total of 84% of patients with genotype 3 achieved an SVR. Sixty-four percent of patients treated with heroin achieved an SVR. The majority of patients (71%) used illicit drugs during HCV treatment and over 80% were diagnosed with psychiatric comorbidities. Comparisons of patient characteristics according to SVR or non-SVR showed that a longer duration of OMT, more consultations per week during HCV treatment and poor self-reported physical condition were associated with non-SVR. CONCLUSION: We conclude that offering HCV treatment in an integrated primary care-based setting with OMT and individualized use of different supporting strategies allows for treatment success rates in the population of PWUD that is comparable to the ones in the population of patients without drug use. Heroin maintenance treatment programmes offer a feasible and safe setting for providing HCV treatment. HubMed – addiction


Drug-evoked synaptic plasticity: beyond metaplasticity.

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Apr 6;
Creed MC, Lüscher C

Addictive drugs such as cocaine induce synaptic plasticity in the ventral tegmental area and its projection areas, which may represent the cellular correlate of an addiction trace. Cocaine induces changes in excitatory transmission primarily in the VTA, which persists for days after a single exposure. These initial alterations in synaptic transmission represent a metaplasticity that is permissive for late stages of remodeling throughout the mesocorticolimbic circuitry, specifically in the NAc. Specific synaptic and cellular changes in the NAc persist following prolonged exposure to cocaine, and this remodeling may contribute to altered behavior. By manipulating synaptic activity in the NAc, it may be possible to reverse pathological synaptic transmission and its associated abnormal behavior following exposure to addictive drugs. HubMed – addiction


Noncanonical roles of the immune system in eliciting oncogene addiction.

Curr Opin Immunol. 2013 Apr 6;
Casey SC, Bellovin DI, Felsher DW

Cancer is highly complex. The magnitude of this complexity makes it highly surprising that even the brief suppression of an oncogene can sometimes result in rapid and sustained tumor regression, illustrating that cancers can be ‘oncogene addicted’ [1-10]. The essential implication is that oncogenes may not only fuel the initiation of tumorigenesis, but in some cases must be excessively activated to maintain a neoplastic state [11]. Oncogene suppression acutely restores normal physiological programs that effectively overrides secondary genetic events and a cancer collapses [12,13]. Oncogene addiction is the description of the dramatic and sustained regression of some cancers upon the specific inactivation of a single oncogene [1-13,14(••),15,16(••)], that can occur through tumor intrinsic [1,2,4,12], but also host immune mechanisms [17-23]. Notably, oncogene inactivation elicits a host immune response that involves specific immune effectors and cytokines that facilitate a remodeling of the tumor microenvironment including the shut down of angiogenesis and the induction of cellular senescence of tumor cells [16(••)]. Hence, immune effectors are not only critically involved in tumor initiation and prevention [17-19] and progression [20], but also appear to be essential to tumor regression upon oncogene inactivation [21,22(••),23(••)]. The understanding how the inactivation of an oncogene elicits a systemic signal in the host that prompts a deconstruction of a tumor could have important implications. The combination of oncogene-targeted therapy together with immunomodulatory therapy may be ideal for the development of both robust tumor intrinsic and immunological responses, effectively leading to sustained tumor regression. HubMed – addiction


Use of illicit and prescription drugs for cognitive or mood enhancement among surgeons.

BMC Med. 2013 Apr 9; 11(1): 102
Franke AG, Bagusat C, Dietz P, Hoffmann I, Simon P, Ulrich R, Lieb K

BACKGROUND: Surgeons are usually exposed to high workloads leading to fatigue and stress. This not only increases the likelihood of mistakes during surgery but also puts pressure on surgeons to use drugs to counteract fatigue, distress, concentration deficits, burnout or symptoms of depression. The prevalence of surgeons taking pharmacological cognitive enhancement (CE) or mood enhancement (ME) drugs has not been systematically assessed so far. METHODS: Surgeons who attended five international conferences in 2011 were surveyed with an anonymous self-report questionnaire (AQ) regarding the use of prescription or illicit drugs for CE and ME and factors associated with their use. The Randomized Response Technique (RRT) was used in addition. The RRT guarantees a high degree of anonymity and confidentiality when a person is asked about stigmatizing issues, such as drug abuse. RESULTS: A total of 3,306 questionnaires were distributed and 1,145 entered statistical analysis (response rate: 36.4%). According to the AQ, 8.9% of all surveyed surgeons confessed to having used a prescription or illicit drug exclusively for CE at least once during lifetime. As one would expect, the prevalence rate assessed by RRT was approximately 2.5-fold higher than that of the AQ (19.9%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 15.9% to 23.9%, N = 1,105). An even larger discrepancy between the RRT and AQ was observed for the use of antidepressants with a 6-fold higher prevalence (15.1%; 95% CI, 11.3% to 19.0%, N = 1,099) as compared to 2.4% with the AQ. Finally, logistic regression analysis revealed that pressure to perform at work (odds ratio (OR): 1.290; 95% CI, 1.000 to 1.666; P = 0.05) or in private life (OR: 1.266; 95% CI, 1.038 to 1.543; P = 0.02), and gross income (OR: 1.337; 95% CI, 1.091 to 1.640; P = 0.005), were positively associated with the use of drugs for CE or ME. CONCLUSIONS: The use of illicit and prescription drugs for CE or ME is an underestimated phenomenon among surgeons which is generally attributable to high workload, perceived workload, and private stress. Such intake of drugs is associated with attempts to counteract fatigue and loss of concentration. However, drug use for CE may lead to addiction and to overestimation of one’s own capabilities, which can put patients at risk. Coping strategies should be taught during medical education. HubMed – addiction