Comparison of compliance and immune response of drug users on the standard and accelerated hepatitis B vaccine schedules - Houston, Texas

Thanh Quoc Tran, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Despite the availability of hepatitis B vaccine for over two decades, drug users and other high-risk adult populations have experienced low vaccine coverage. Poor compliance has limited efforts to reduce transmission of hepatitis B infection in this population. Evidence suggests that immunological response in drug users is impaired compared to the general population, both in terms of lower seroprotection rates and antibodies levels. The current study investigated the effectiveness of the multi-dose hepatitis B vaccine and compared the effect of the standard and accelerated vaccine schedules in a not-in-treatment, drug-using adult population in the city of Houston, USA. A population of drug-users from two communities in Houston, susceptible to hepatitis B, was sampled by outreach workers and referral methodology. Subjects were randomized either to the standard hepatitis vaccine schedule (0, 1-, 6-month) or to an accelerated schedule (0, 1-, 2-month). Antibody levels were detected through laboratory analyses at various time-points. The participants were followed for two years and seroconversion rates were calculated to determine immune response. A four percent difference in the overall compliance rate was observed between the standard (73%) and accelerated schedules (77%). Logistic regression analyses showed that drug users living on the streets were twice as likely to not complete all three vaccine doses (p=0.028), and current speedball use was also associated with non-completion (p=0.002). Completion of all three vaccinations in the multivariate analysis was also correlated with older age. Drug users on the accelerated schedule were 26% more likely to achieve completion, although this factor was marginally significant (p=0.085). Cumulative adequate protective response was gained by 65% of the HBV susceptible subgroup by 12-months and was identical for both the standard and accelerated schedules. Excess protective response (>=100 mIU/mL) occurred with greater frequency at the later period for the standard schedule (36% at 12-months compared to 14% at six months), while the greater proportion of excess protective response for the accelerated schedule occurred earlier (34% at 6 months compared to 18% at 12-months). Seroconversion at the adequate protective response level of 10 mIU/mL was reached by the accelerated schedule group at a quicker rate (62% vs. 49%), and with a higher mean titer (104.8 vs. 64.3 mIU/mL), when measured at six months. Multivariate analyses indicated a 63% increased risk of non-response for older age and confirmed the existence of an accelerating decline in immune response to vaccination manifesting after 40 years (p=0.001). Injecting more than daily was also highly associated with the risk of non-response (p=0.016). The substantial increase in the seroprotection rate at six months may be worth the trade-off against the faster antibody titer decrease and is recommended for enhancing compliance and seroconversion. Utilization of the accelerated schedule with the primary objective of increasing compliance and seroconversion rates during the six months after the first dose may confer early protective immunity and reduce the HBV vulnerability of drug users who continue, or have recently initiated, increased high risk drug use and sexual behaviors.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Tran, Thanh Quoc, "Comparison of compliance and immune response of drug users on the standard and accelerated hepatitis B vaccine schedules - Houston, Texas" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3297515.