The Long-Term Effectiveness of Methadone Maintenance Treatment in Prevention of Hepatitis C Virus Among Illicit Drug Users: A Modeling Study

Mehdi Javanbakht, Alireza Mirahmadizadeh, Atefeh Mashayekhi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is increasingly recognized as a major global health problem. Illicit injection drug use is an important risk factor for the rising hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence in IR Iran.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the long-term effectiveness (total quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained) of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT program) in prevention of HCV infection among injecting drug users (IDUs).

Materials and Methods: A number of Markov models were developed to model morbidity and mortality among IDUs. The input data used in modeling were collected by a self-reported method from 259 IDUs before registration and one year after MMT and also from previous studies. One way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were done to show the effects of uncertainty in parameters on number of life years and QALYs saved. The expected consequences were estimated using a life-time time horizon for the two strategies including implementation and not implementation of the MMT program.

Results: Our model estimated that total number of discounted life years lived per IDU with and without the MMT program would be 5.15 (5.05- 5.25) and 4.63 (4.42- 4.81),respectively. The model also estimated that total number of discounted QALYs lived per IDU with and without the MMT program would be 4.11 (3.86-4.41) and 2.45 (2.17 - 2.84). Simulation results indicated that all differences in life years and QALYs lived between the two strategies were statistically significant (p <0.001). Based on our model, total discounted life years and QALYs saved in a cohort of 1000 IDUs were 1790 (1520 - 2090) and 1590 (1090-2090), respectively.

Conclusions: Considering the high prevalence of illicit injecting drug use in Iran and MMT effectiveness in prevention of HCV infection, it is necessary to develop MMT centers at regional and national levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13484
Number of pages9
JournalIranian red crescent medical journal
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Hepatitis C Virus
  • Iran
  • methadone maintenance treatment
  • quality adjusted life years
  • illicit drug users
  • Markov Model
  • human-immunodeficiency-virus
  • cost-effectiveness
  • sexual transmission
  • prospective cohort
  • inject drugs
  • risk-factors
  • infection
  • prevalence
  • impact
  • metaanalysis

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