Lucas County preps needle exchange | ByLauren Lindstrom | BLADE STAFF WRITER

Health officials in Lucas County are working to get the area’s first needle exchange program up and running by the spring, adding another weapon to their arsenal in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic.

Toledo will be the last large metro area in Ohio to adopt such an exchange. Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati all have them, as do the smaller cities of Dayton and Portsmouth. Such programs aim to decrease the likelihood of spreading HIV or hepatitis C among users who share needles.

The Lucas Syringe Access Program will operate at two locations: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in UpTown and the Talbot Center in East Toledo. It’s a one-for-one exchange program that also will offer medical screenings, the overdose-reversal medication naloxone, and other resources.



Virginia health official warns of hepatitis C ‘tidal wave’

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s top health official is warning that the state soon be dealing with skyrocketing rates of hepatitis C and HIV due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports state health commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine said at a Virginia Board of Health meeting Thursday that opioid use is spurring on the two deadly infections. She predicted that a “tidal wave of hepatitis C” is coming.

A Virginia Department of Health report says cases of hepatitis C are rising in the state, with the primary infection risk being injection drug use. The infection can lead to liver disease.

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Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin for 12 or 24 Weeks Is Safe and Effective in Adolescents with Genotype 2 or Genotype 3 Chronic Hepatitis C Infection | Alan Franciscus


AASLD 2016


Article:   Sofosbuvir + Ribavirin for 12 or 24 Weeks Is Safe and Effective in Adolescents with Genotype 2 or Genotype 3 Chronic Hepatitis C Infection.

Author/Source:  Dr. Kathleen Schwarz / ABSTRACT # 706

There are on-going clinical trials with direct-acting antiviral medications to treat children infected with chronic hepatitis C.  But to-date there has been very little data available to guide clinicians and pediatric care-givers on treatment decisions.  The current study evaluated the safety and effectiveness (sustained virological rates(SVR)/cure) of Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) plus ribavirin to treat adolescents (12 to 17 year old) infected with HCV genotypes genotype 2 and 3.

Fifty adolescents were enrolled in the current clinical trial.  Thirteen HCV genotype 2 adolescents were treated for 12 weeks and 37 HCV genotype 3 adolescents were treated for 24 weeks.  All the adolescents were treated with Sovaldi plus ribavirin—the ribavirin dose was based on the adolescent’s weight (15mg/kg/day to a maximum of 1400 mg/day—divided into two doses a day.  There was intensive blood sampling on day 7 in the first 10 patients to make sure that the ribavirin dose was safe and effective for the adolescents.


The cure rate was 100% for the genotype 2 adolescents and 97% for the genotype 3 adolescents.  The side effects reported in more than or equal to 10% of the adolescents included headache, nausea, upper stomach pain, diarrhea and dizziness.    No one stopped treatment due to side effects.

Editorial Comment:  These are very good cure rates and this study supports treating adolescents with Sovaldi plus ribavirin especially for those who are in high need of treatment.

There are on-going studies of this therapy and others listed on our Clinical trials Reference Guide:


Dedham vet becomes advocate for Hepatitis C testing | Paula

With three young daughters and a busy life, Bob Rice at first thought the fatigue he felt in 1992 at the age of 31 was part of being a busy father and husband.

When the fatigue got worse and was accompanied by joint aches, Rice went to the doctor and was referred to a gastroenterologist who suggested a Hepatitis C test.

“I didn’t even know what it was,” Rice said. “The Hep C test came back positive and I asked them to retest me. That started 20 years of craziness.”

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Hepatitis C Cure Rate 93% With Elbasvir/Grazoprevir for Genotype 1 or 4 | Mark Mascolini

Sustained virologic response 12 weeks after elbasvir/grazoprevir (EBR/GZR, Zepatier) therapy ended (SVR12) reached 93% among HCV genotype 1 and 4 patients in the double-blind, placebo-controlled C-CORAL trial. SVR12 rates did not differ by sex, age or fibrosis stage.

HCV prevalence in the Asia/Pacific region and Russia ranges from 1% to 5%, with genotype 1b accounting for about half of infections. Fixed-dose one-tablet once-daily EBR/GZR is licensed for treatment of genotype 1 and 4 HCV in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere. C-CORAL collaborators conducted this trial to assess EBR/GZR efficacy and safety in Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and Russia. EBV is an NS5A inhibitor, and GZR is an NS3/4A protease inhibitor.

The phase 3 trial randomized 250 participants to immediate EBR/GZR and 86 to placebo for 12 weeks, followed by unblinding and EBR/GZR for the placebo group. All patients had HCV genotype 1, 4 or 6 and none had HIV; they could have compensated cirrhosis. The primary endpoint was SVR12 in the immediate EBR/GZR arm.

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Hepatitis C cases in Southwestern Pennsylvania skyrocket over 10 years | DEBRA ERDLEY

As the opioid epidemic took root in rural Pennsylvania a decade ago, sending overdose fatality rates soaring in Westmoreland and surrounding counties, another serious health threat bubbled up.

Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal liver disease, increased by more than eight-fold in the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania region — climbing from 335 cases in 2003 to 2,818 in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available from the state Department of Health. The spike in intravenous drug use and shared needles helped the blood-borne disease spread rapidly.

In Westmoreland County, hepatitis C cases skyrocketed from 42 to 354 during that time.

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