Cost-effectiveness of integrating buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for opioid use disorder into clinical care for persons with HIV/hepatitis C co-infection who inject opioids

Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Oct;72:160-168. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.05.010. Epub 2019 May 10.


Background: Untreated opioid use disorder (OUD) affects the care of HIV/HCV co-infected people who inject opioids. Despite active injection opioid use, there is evidence of increasing engagement in HIV care and adherence to HIV medications among HIV/HCV co-infected persons. However, less than one-half of this population is offered HCV treatment onsite. Treatment for OUD is also rare and largely occurs offsite. Integrating buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP-NX) into onsite care for HIV/HCV co-infected persons may improve outcomes, but the clinical impact and costs are unknown. We evaluated the clinical impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness of integrating (BUP-NX) into onsite HIV/HCV treatment compared with the status quo of offsite referral for medications for OUD.

Methods: We used a Monte Carlo microsimulation of HCV to compare two strategies for people who inject opioids: 1) standard HIV care with onsite HCV treatment and referral to offsite OUD care (status quo) and 2) standard HIV care with onsite HCV and BUP-NX treatment (integrated care). Both strategies assume that all individuals are already in HIV care. Data from national databases, clinical trials, and cohorts informed model inputs. Outcomes included mortality, HCV reinfection, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), costs (2017 US dollars), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.

Results: Integrated care reduced HCV reinfections by 7%, cases of cirrhosis by 1%, and liver-related deaths by 3%. Compared to the status quo, this strategy also resulted in an estimated 11/1,000 fewer non-liver attributable deaths at one year and 28/1,000 fewer of these deaths at five years, at a cost-effectiveness ratio of $57,100/QALY. Integrated care remained cost-effective in sensitivity analyses that varied the proportion of the population actively injecting opioids, availability of BUP-NX, and quality of life weights.

Conclusions: Integrating BUP-NX for OUD into treatment for HIV/HCV co-infected adults who inject opioids increases life expectancy and is cost-effective at a $100,000/QALY threshold.

Keywords: HIV; Hepatitis C; Integrated care; Opioid use disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination / administration & dosage*
  • Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination / economics
  • Coinfection
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / economics
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / drug therapy*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / economics


  • Buprenorphine, Naloxone Drug Combination