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Past Highlights

Welcome to the Past Highlights page, our collection of featured publications, research, and news.

The Removal of the X Waiver Broadens Access to MOUD

The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act of 2023 was signed on December 29th, 2022. This act removed the X-waiver requirement for providers to prescribe buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). This policy change is a major step in broadening access and removing barriers to this medication for OUD. In an article published by STAT News, Dr. Ben Linas and Dr. Beth Linas discuss the implications the elimination of the X-wavier can have on addiction treatment. Click below to read more!

Webinar Examining Hepatitis C in Pregnancy

On Wednesday, January 25th, 2023, Dr. Rachel Epstein took part in a webinar discussing strategies to improve HCV linkage and treatment in pregnancy. This webinar had been organized by the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, a program of the Task Force for Global Health. For more information about the full TiP-HepC ("Treatment in Pregnancy for Hepatitis C") Community of Practice webinar series, please click the button below!

Modeling the cost-effectiveness and impact on fatal overdose and initiation of buprenorphine-naloxone treatment at syringe service programs

Adams JW, Savinkina A, Fox A, Behrands CN, Madushani RWMA, Wang J, Chatterjee A, Walley AY, Barocas JA, Linas BP

Addiction Journal Publications

On March 21, 2022, Addiction Journal published two publications, one led by Dr. Joëlla Adams and the other led by Alexandra Savinkina, both alumni of the Syndemics Team. The publication by Adams found that offering buprenorphine treatment on-site within syringe services programs could substantially decrease drug overdoses, improve treatment engagement, and save on costs. Savinkina’s publication found that linking detox patients to outpatient care and initiating MOUD while in detox could prevent fatal overdoses among people with OUD and would be cost-effective from a healthcare sector perspective. 

Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Hepatitis C Virus Screening Frequencies in Hemodialysis Centers

A December 2022 Journal of the American Society of Nephrology early access article led by Dr. Rachel Epstein and also involving Syndemics team members Benjamin Buzzee, Dimitri Baptiste, Tannishtha Prammanick, and Dr. Benjamin Linas challenges current HCV screening recommendations. Current national guidelines recommend Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) screening every 6 months for patients receiving in-center hemodialysis. Using the HEP-CE model, Dr. Epstein and collaborators found that screening at hemodialysis initiation is critical and leads to cure rates of almost 80%. Additionally, screening every two years increased cure rates to 88%, and decreased liver related deaths by 52%. Compared to these screening frequencies, screening every year or every six months greatly increased costs while only slightly increasing health outcomes (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $934,757 for every six-month screening). This research found that current HCV screening guidelines for patients receiving in-center hemodialysis are likely not a cost-effective use of health care resources, suggesting that guidelines recommending less frequent screening should be considered.

Population-level impact of initiating pharmacotherapy and linking to care persons with opioid use disorder at inpatient medically managed withdrawal programs: an effectiveness and cost effectiveness analysis

Savinkina A, Madushani RWMA, Yazdi GE, Wang J, Barocas JA, Morgan JR, Assoumou SA, Walley AY, Linas BP, Murphy SM

Determining the lower limit of detection required for HCV viral load assay for test of cure following direct-acting antiviral based treatment regimens: evidence from a global dataset

Morgan JR, Marsh E, Savinkina A, Shilton S, Shadaker S, Tsertsvadze T, Kamkamidze G, Alkhazashvili M, et al.

2022 Penn LDI/CHERISH Virtual Conference

On January 14th, Mathieu Castry and Ben Linas presented preliminary results on the projected impact of implementing state licensure standards to improve access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in residential treatment at the Penn LDI/CHERISH Virtual Conference. The conference explored how states can use licensing authorities to address gaps in access to MOUDs in treatment facilities through modeling. Learn more about Mathieu and Ben’s research and about the conference below.

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