Thursday 21 September 2017
We do not support recommendations of "ART in pregnant women living with HIV: a clinical practice guideline" (BMJ, 11/9/17)
Other systematic reviews and numerous observational studies show tenofovir to be safe in HIV in pregnancy
BHIVA does agree any decision regarding ARVs should always be discussed in full with every woman
BHIVA's recommendation remains to continue or to start tenofovir or abacavir with emtricitabine or lamivudine as a nucleoside backbone
We do not think this data should influence use tenofovir/emtricitabine for pre-exposure prophylaxis in women of child-bearing potential
This BMJ systematic review has “strongly recommended” that pregnant women living with HIV should not be treated with the combination tenofovir/emtricitabine/lopinavir/ritonavir due to higher rates of early neonatal death reported in the PROMISE, randomised clinical trial2.
The PROMISE trial compared the efficacy of zidovudine/single-dose nevirapine with combination protease inhibitor-based (lopinavir-ritonavir) ART using zidovudine/lamivudine or tenofovir/emtricitabine backbone to prevent mother-to-child transmission in women with CD4 cell count >350 cells/mm2.
BHIVA does not recommend the use of lopinavir/ritonavir for the treatment of HIV in adults, including in pregnant women, and certainly not at the 50% higher dose used in the 3rd trimester in the PROMISE trial. In addition PROMISE investigated outcomes in women initiating therapy. Most women in UK will conceive on ART, most commonly with TDF/FTC backbone and this study does not address that cohort.
The systematic review also made a “weak recommendation” that zidovudine/lamivudine should be used preferentially over tenofovir/emtricitabine as the nucleoside backbone in pregnant women because of the lower number of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in this arm of the PROMISE study. As both arms received lopinavir/ritonavir the BMJ panel postulates that tenofovir/emtricitabine is the cause of the difference. Despite the BMJ panel’s assertion that pharmacokinetic interactions between tenofovir and lopinavir/ritonavir are not relevant there are data reporting increased levels of both drugs in the host when co-administered at standard doses.
Three previous systematic reviews3–5 reported no increase of birth adverse events or safety events (and no increased risk of congenital anomalies) in infants exposed to tenofovir compared to non-tenofovir-containing regimens in HIV-exposed infants, although data remain limited and studies evaluating neonatal mortality, infant anthropometry and bone growth are required. WHO used these systematic reviews to inform their guidelines on HIV and pregnancywhich include the use of tenofovir-containing regimens.
In addition to these systematic reviews, there are numerous observational studies showing tenofovir/emtricitabine to be safe in pregnancy. For example, Zash et al 6 published a birth surveillance study of 47,027 pregnant women in Botswana, including 11,932 women with HIV, where preterm birth, very preterm birth, small and very small size for gestational age, stillbirth, and neonatal death were evaluated. In this very large cohort, the risk for any adverse or severe adverse birth outcome was lowest among infants exposed to a combined regimen of tenofovir, emtricitabine and efavirenz but all tenofovir/emtricitabine-based regimens were found to be safer than those with zidovudine/lamivudine as a backbone and the highest risk of adverse outcomes with observed in those women receiving lopinavir-based regimes.
The writing group agree that any decision regarding ARVs should always be discussed in full with every woman. Currently, our recommendation remains to continue or to start tenofovir or abacavir with emtricitabine or lamivudine as the nucleoside backbone (Grading: 2C). The third agent should be one of the following: efavirenz, raltegravir, rilpivirine, ritonavir-boosted darunavir or ritonavir-boosted atazanavir, as per national BHIVA Adult treatment guidelines7. In addition the group does not think this data should influence decisions to use tenofovir/emtricitabine for pre-exposure prophylaxis in women of child-bearing potential.
The BHIVA guidelines on the management of HIV in pregnancy will be published for consultation later this year.
For further information, please contact Curium Communications:
Jon Cope: 07867 508212
1. Siemieniuk RAC, Lytvyn L, Mah Ming J et al. Antiretroviral therapy in pregnant women living with HIV: a clinical practice guideline. BMJ 2017; 358: j3961.
2. Fowler MG, Qin M, Fiscus SA et al; IMPAACT 1077BF/1077FF PROMISE Study Team. Benefits and risks of antiretroviral therapy for perinatal HIV prevention. N Engl J Med 2016; 375: 1726–1737.
3. Nachega JB, Uthman OA, Mofenson LM et al. Safety of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate–based antiretroviral therapy regimens in pregnancy for HIV-infected women and their infants: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J AIDS: 2017; 76: 1–12.
4. Wang L, Kourtis AP, Ellington S et al. Safety of tenofovir during pregnancy for the mother and fetus: a systematic review. Clin Infect Dis 2013; 57: 1773–1781.
5. Mofenson LM, Baggaley RC, Mameletzis I. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate safety for women and their infants during pregnancy and breastfeeding. AIDS 2017; 31: 213–232.
6. Zash R, Jacobson DL, Diseko M et al. Comparative safety of antiretroviral treatment regimens in pregnancy. JAMA Pediatr 2017; Epub ahead of print.
Founded in 1995, BHIVA is the leading professional organisation committed to providing excellence in the care of those living with and affected by HIV. It acts as a national advisory body to professions and other organisations on all aspects of HIV care. BHIVA also provides a national platform for HIV care and contributes representatives for international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, BHIVA works to promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care. www.bhiva.org @BritishHIVAssoc