February 5, 2003
Investigators found that administering DAAT at a methadone clinic works because patients visit daily. A pilot study started two years ago has 35 people enrolled.
"Somewhere between 70 percent and 80 percent of the people enrolled in the program have achieved an undetectable viral load of less than 400 copies," Lucas explained. The pilot study is not randomized, but investigators are following a cohort study of 2,500 active HIV patients as a matched control group.
In DAAT, patients on methadone therapy are prescribed antiretroviral regimens, and clinicians administer the pills, watching as the patients take them. Then they give them a packet of pills to take later that day.
Low-income racial minorities and women make up many patients at methadone clinics, so the DAAT model helps a hard-to-reach population. Plus, Ryan White programs have already funded a number of slots for methadone treatment for uninsured HIV-infected women.
Lucas said the next step is to study DAAT in a randomized, controlled trial. Investigators are also exploring the option of working with larger methadone treatment clinics in the Baltimore area, he added.
01.01.03; Vol. 18; No. 1: P. 8