[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efavirenz is the preferred non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for first-line antiretroviral treatment in many countries. For women of childbearing potential, advantages of efavirenz are balanced by concerns that it is teratogenic. This paper reviews evidence of efavirenz teratogenicity and considers implications in common clinical scenarios.
Concerns of efavirenz-induced fetal effects stem from animal studies, although the predictive value of animal data for humans is unknown. Four retrospective cases of central nervous system birth defects in infants with first trimester exposure to efavirenz have been interpreted as being consistent with animal data. In a prospective pregnancy registry, which is subject to fewer potential biases, no increase was detected in overall risk of birth defects following exposure to efavirenz in the first-trimester.
For women planning a pregnancy or not using contraception, efavirenz should be avoided if alternatives are available. According to WHO guidelines for resource-constrained settings, benefits of efavirenz are likely to outweigh risks for women using contraception. Women who become pregnant while receiving efavirenz often consider drug substitution or temporarily suspending treatment. Both options have substantial risks for maternal and fetal health which, we argue, appear unjustified after the critical period of organogenesis (3-8 weeks post-conception). Efavirenz-based triple regimens, initiated after the first trimester of pregnancy and discontinued after childbirth, are potentially an important alternative for reducing mother-to-child transmission in pregnant women who do not yet require antiretroviral treatment.
Current recommendations for care for women who become pregnant while receiving efavirenz may need to be re-considered, particularly in settings with limited alternative drugs and laboratory monitoring. With current data limitations, additional adequately powered prospective studies are needed.
AIDS Research and Therapy 02/2006; 3:11. DOI:10.1186/1742-6405-3-11 · 1.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) UC781 is under development as a microbicide to prevent sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). However, NNRTI-resistant HIV-1 is increasingly prevalent in the infected population, and one of the concerns for NNRTI-based microbicides is that they will be ineffective against drug-resistant virus and may in fact selectively transmit NNRTI-resistant virus. We evaluated the microbicidal activity of UC781 against UC781-resistant (UCR), efavirenz-resistant (EFVR), and nevirapine-resistant (NVPR) strains in a variety of microbicide-relevant tests, including inactivation of cell-free virus, inhibition of cell-to-cell HIV-1 transmission, and the ability of UC781 pretreatment to protect cells from subsequent infection in the absence of exogenous drug. UC781 was 10- to 100-fold less effective against NNRTI-resistant HIV-1 compared to wild-type (wt) virus in each of these tests, with UC781 microbicidal activity against the various virus strains being wt > or = NVPR > UCR > or = EFVR. Breakthrough experiments using UC781-pretreated cells and mixtures of wt and NNRTI-resistant HIV-1 showed that UC781-pretreatment selected for NNRTI-resistant HIV-1. However, the efficacy of UC781 was dose dependent, and 25 microM UC781 provided essentially equivalent microbicidal activity against NNRTI-resistant and wt virus. The amount of UC781 in topical microbicide formulations under current development is approximately 100-fold greater than this concentration, so transmission of NNRTI-resistant virus may not be an issue at these microbicide formulation levels of UC781. Nonetheless, the reduced microbicidal activity of UC781 against NNRTI-resistant HIV-1 suggests that additional antiviral agents should be included in NNRTI-based microbicide formulations.
Journal of Virology 05/2006; 80(9):4440-6. DOI:10.1128/JVI.80.9.4440-4446.2006 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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