Research

Safety of nevirapine in HIV-infected pregnant women initiating antiretroviral therapy at higher CD4 counts: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ebrahim Bera, Rafiq Mia

Abstract


Background. The package insert for nevirapine (NVP) cautions use in HIV-infected women (including pregnant women) with CD4 counts ≥250 cells/µl. However, recent studies showed that the CD4 count of pregnant women receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) was not predictive of NVP toxicity.

Objectives. To determine whether ART-naive pregnant women initiating NVP-based ART at higher CD4 counts experience greater toxicity compared with pregnant women at lower CD4 counts.

Methods. We reviewed studies comparing serious adverse NVP-related events among ART-naive pregnant women who commenced therapy at higher v. lower CD4 counts. Relevant studies were extracted from PubMed, SCOPUS and EMBASE, major journals and conference proceedings prior to December 2011. Authors were contacted for additional data. Data were independently extracted and entered into Review Manager.

Results. Fourteen studies (2 663 participants) were included for analysis. The odds ratio (OR) for overall NVP toxicity among pregnant women with CD4 <250 cells/µl was 0.61 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.43 - 0.85). When analysis was restricted to prospective studies only (7 studies, 1 318 participants), the results were consistent for overall NVP toxicity (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.25 - 0.73) and severe hepatotoxicity (OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.22 - 0.90), but not for severe cutaneous reaction (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.26 - 1.10).

Conclusion. Initiating NVP-based ART during pregnancy at CD4 ≥250 cells/µl increases toxicity risk and should be avoided, necessitating urgent revision of current guidelines supporting this practice.

Authors' affiliations

Ebrahim Bera, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of the Witwatersrand and Rahima Moosa Mother-and-Child Hospital, Johannesburg

Rafiq Mia, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of the Witwatersrand and Rahima Moosa Mother-and-Child Hospital, Johannesburg

Full Text

PDF (290KB) HTML

Keywords

HIV; meta-analysis; nevirapine; pregnancy; toxicity

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(11):855-859. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.5700

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-02-02
Date published: 2012-10-08

Article Views

Abstract views: 1602
Full text views: 3888

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here