Influence of comorbid drug use disorder on receipt of evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorder among VA patients with alcohol use disorder and Hepatitis C and/or HIV
- Among VA patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and HCV and/or HIV, about half had drug use disorder (DUD).
- DUD was associated with increased receipt of specialty addictions treatment for AUD.
- DUD was associated with receipt of pharmacotherapy in persons with HCV, but not HIV.
Alcohol use is risky for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and/or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment is underutilized in these populations. Comorbid drug use disorders (DUD) are common, but their influence on AUD treatment receipt is understudied. We evaluated the association between DUD and AUD treatment receipt in two national samples of patients with AUD, those with HIV and those with HCV, in the U.S. Veterans Health Administration.
Samples included patients with AUD and HCV and/or HIV among positive alcohol screens (AUDIT-C≥5) documented 10/01/09-5/30/13 in the national electronic health record. Poisson regression models estimated incidence rate ratios for receiving specialty treatment (stop codes) and pharmacotherapy (filled prescription for naltrexone, disulfiram, acamprosate, or topiramate) within 365 days of positive alcohol screening for patients with DUD versus those without. Models were clustered on patient and adjusted for potential confounders.
Among 22,039 patients with HCV/AUD, 45.2% (N = 9,964) had DUD, which was associated with receiving specialty treatment [adjusted incidence rate ratio: 1.89 (95% confidence interval 1.82–1.96)] and pharmacotherapy [aIRR: 1.50 (1.37–1.65)]. Among 1,834 patients with HIV/AUD, 56.9% (N = 1,043) had DUD, which was associated with receiving specialty treatment [aIRR: 1.94 (1.68–2.24)], but not pharmacotherapy.
Rates of AUD treatment receipt among patients with AUD and HCV and/or HIV were low overall, but likelihood of treatment receipt was generally higher among those with comorbid DUD. Future research should investigate mechanisms underlying these associations, such as enhanced readiness for treatment or differential provider prescribing or referral practices.