Psychoactive Substances Taken with Mephedrone and HCV Infection

In recent years, the observed frequency of hospitalization of patients taking mephedrone with other psychoactive substances has increased. There are no data in the literature on the effect of mephedrone use on liver function in patients, including the frequency of HCV infection. We have analysed the impact of taking mephedrone together with other psychoactive substances on the incidence of HCV infection. We have also analysed the effect of taking mephedrone with heroin, alcohol, and benzodiazepines on liver enzyme levels.

Methods: The study included patients taking mephedrone with: alcohol (n = 115), heroin (n = 85) and benzodiazepines (n = 130) hospitalized in 2010–2018. The control group consisted of patients addicted to alcohol (n = 180), heroin (n = 221) and benzodiazepines (n = 152). Clinical data and laboratory findings were collected from medical records.

Results: Taking mephedrone together with benzodiazepines is a statistically significant predictor of HCV infection in this group of patients, OR (8.44); 95% CI 5.63–12.64; p < 0.001). A statistically significant interaction of the group with HCV infection was observed, i.e., for the level of alanine transaminase (p < 0.001) and aspartate transaminase (p < 0.001). Increased levels of liver enzymes in each of the studied groups was characteristic in patients with HCV infection (p < 0.001). Taking additional mephedrone by this group of patients did not increase the level of liver enzymes.

Conclusion: HCV infection is a statistically significant factor affecting the increase in liver enzymes levels in the group of patients taking mephedrone.

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