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Michael Bergin, Ian Norman, Michelle Foley, Richard Harris, Anna Rapca, Eileen Rich and Marie-Claire Van Hout

Abstract

Codeine, a weak opiate, requires increased pharmacovigilance relating to availability, heterogeneous nature of misuse, dependence and associated harm. A scoping review of literature on codeine was conducted using Arksey & O’Malley’s framework (1). Databases searched included PubMed, EBSCO Host, Science Direct, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane library and Medline from 1994 to 2014. Follow-up search strategies involved hand searching and searching of pharmaceutical, health, medical and drug related websites. Initial zscreening identified 3,105 articles with 475 meeting the inclusion criteria. Eight broad categories organised the literature, data charting and qualitative synthesis. This paper presents implications for practice and makes recommendations to address these issues. Themes identified relate to raising public and practitioner awareness, risk management, dispensing practices and monitoring and surveillance of codeine. Evidence to inform law enforcement, drug surveillance, public health initiatives, harm reduction approaches, pharmacy, clinical and treatment practices is warranted.

Open access

Des Crowley, Walter Cullen, Eamon Laird, John S. Lambert, Tina Mc Hugh, Carol Murphy and Marie Claire Van Hout

Abstract

Background and Objectives

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major public health issue. There is substandard uptake in HCV assessment and treatment among people who inject drugs (PWID). Community fibroscanning is used to assess disease severity and target treatment.

Methods

A survey was administered to a cohort of chronically HCV infected patients attending a community fibroscanning clinic. Questions targeted diagnosis of HCV, suitability, willingness and barriers to engagement in treatment. Descriptive and regression analysis, with thematic analysis of open-ended data was conducted.

Results

There was high acceptance of community fibroscanning among this cohort with over 90% (68) attending. High levels of unemployment (90%) and homelessness (40%) were identified. Most patients were on methadone treatment and had been HCV infected for greater than 10 years with length of time since HCV diagnosis being significantly longer in patients with fibroscan scores > 8.5 kPa (P = 0.016). With each unit increase in methadone dose, the odds of the >8.5 fibroscan group increased by 5.2%. Patient identified barriers to engagement were alcohol and drug use, fear of HCV treatment and liver biopsy, imprisonment, distance to hospital and early morning appointments.

Conclusion

The study highlights the usefulness of community fibroscanning. Identifying barriers to treatment in this cohort affords an opportunity to increase the treatment uptake. The availability of afternoon clinics and enhanced prison linkage are warranted.