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Published on 11 November 2008

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Protect HIV drug for use after childbirth, says researcher


According to a new study, using nevirapine during pregnancy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) affects the drug’s efficacy as an HIV therapy after childbirth.

The clinical study, funded by National Institute of Health (NIH), compared two antiretroviral treatments in women who received nevirapine during labour.

The first, containing nevirapine, also included emtricitabine and tenofovir. The second was a lopinavir-boosted ritonavir treatment with emtricitabine and tenofovir.

The trial also looked at whether taking single-dose nevirapine to prevent MTCT during labour subsequently compromises the effectiveness of nevirapine as a component of therapy for HIV-positive mothers.

A review of the study, published in the South African newspaper Business Day, found that treatment containing ritonavir-boosted lopinavir was more effective than nevirapine among HIV-positive women who previously took nevirapine to prevent MTCT.

Francesca Conradie, from the University of the Witwatersrand Clinical HIV Research Unit, said: “I’m not saying nevirapine should not have been given to these women – it was the best we had at the time. What we can do now is protect nevirapine to ensure it can be safely used in their subsequent treatment.

According to Dr Conradie, women who received nevirapine during childbirth and are now being treated with a nevirapine-based regimen should be closely monitored to make sure the drugs are effectively suppressing HIV.

Copyright Press Association 2008

University of the Witwatersrand

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