"Physicians treating pregnant women for HIV face a dilemma: do they continue treating a pregnant woman with a drug that is highly effective for adults but which has not been studied for its effects on infants, or do they switch the woman to another therapy, which may not be as effective and well-tolerated?" said first author George K. Siberry, M.D., of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch of the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH institute that conducted the study. "Our findings indicate that tenofovir does not affect the growth of the fetus."
Over the seven years of the study, the number of participants being treated with tenofovir increased sharply, the study authors noted. In 2003, 14 percent of mothers in the study had been prescribed the drug, compared with 43 percent in 2010.
"The priority has been to treat mothers and prevent an infant's infection," said co-author Paige L. Williams, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. "However, it's important to monitor the effects of these drugs on the infant."
The research was conducted as part of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS), which is supported by the NICHD, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Dr. Siberry and Dr. Williams collaborated with colleagues at the State University of New York Downstate, Brooklyn; University of Miami School of Medicine; Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis; Harvard; and the NICHD.
Their findings appear online in the journal AIDS.
The study inclu
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