Hepatitis C among drug users: consensus guidelines on management in general practice

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Abstract

Background

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a common cause of morbidity among patients who attend general practitioners (GPs) in Ireland for methadone maintenance treatment.

Aims

To describe the development and content of guidelines for the management of HCV among current or former opiate users in the Eastern Regional Health Authority area attending GPs for methadone treatment.

Methods

The guidelines were produced in five stages: identification of key stakeholders; development of evidence-based draft guidelines; discussion of content; determination of ‘Delphi'-facilitated consensus and review by a sample of GPs for whom the guidelines would be intended.

Results

The guidelines contain advice for GPs on all aspects of care of patients at risk of HCV, including general and preventative care, care of other bloodborne and hepatotoxic viruses, and the factors to be considered and appropriate evaluation prior to referring a patient for assessment at a hepatology unit.

Conclusions

GPs have an important role to play in the care of patients at risk of, or Infected with, HCV.

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