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HIV drug not best for babies


A single dose of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine, is not always effective in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, a new study has found.

At the same time, a six-week extended course did not clearly show a reduced risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission among breastfed infants.

The drug can also produce side-effects such as liver failure, rashes or low white blood cell counts. Meanwhile, resistance develops quickly – an infant who receives Nevirapine and still contracts HIV will be unable to to take triple-therapy cocktails combination therapies that contain nevirapine or any related drug.

The findings are included in a study published in the journal Lancet, and follow a six-week extended course of treatment with the drug. For the study, researchers administered nevirapine to infants in Ethiopia, India and Uganda whose mothers were HIV-positive.

Half of the infants were randomly assigned to receive a single dose of the drug, while the other half received a six-week course. The study found that infants who took daily doses of nevirapine for six weeks reduced their risk of MTCT by 15%.

The researchers concluded that instead of using nevirapine, HIV/AIDS experts should focus on methods to make infant formula more available and acceptable to HIV-positive mothers in developing countries.

Copyright PA Business 2008

The Lancet

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