Higher HCV Rates, Lower Buprenorphine Prescriptions in Rural Counties in Ohio

Office-based prescribing of buprenorphine has the potential to prevent and control hepatitis C virus infection by decreasing the frequency of opioid injections by individuals with opioid use disorder. Credit: Getty Images

Compared with urban counties, rural counties in Ohio were found to have twice the rate of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and less office-based buprenorphine prescribing, as well as a similar relationship between buprenorphine prescribing and overall HCV case rates, according to the results of a descriptive ecological study published in Open Forum Infectious Disease. Prior research has shown that prescribing buprenorphine for individuals with opioid use disorder can prevent HCV infections by reducing the frequency of opioid injections.

Investigators collected data on acute and total HCV incidence by county from the Ohio Department of Health from 2013 to 2017.