Navigation Links
Studies Tout Alternative HIV Regimens for Women, Babies
Date:10/14/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that alternative drug regimens in poor countries could help HIV-infected mothers and their infants more effectively fight off the virus that causes AIDS.

Currently, doctors lower the risk of transmission of mother-to-baby HIV infection by giving a drug to mothers right before birth and to babies right after. About half of the babies avoid getting HIV, but mothers and babies who do get infected often develop resistance to the drug, which is typically given to them later in life.

Enter the alternatives. "We now have a very effective treatment for women who've taken a specific drug and for babies at risk," said Dr. Shahin Lockman, lead author of one of two studies about the regimens in the Oct. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

There's a big hitch, however: the alternative regimens are much more expensive than the current drug regimen, although the study authors weren't able to give an estimate of the difference in costs between the regimens.

At stake are the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of women who are infected with HIV, said Lockman, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

In many cases, HIV-positive women in poor countries -- such as those in Africa -- receive treatment with the inexpensive anti-HIV drug nevirapine shortly before they give birth. The idea is that the drug will reduce the risk that the baby will become infected with HIV during labor and delivery.

The problem is that in some cases, the AIDS virus develops resistance to the drug and the drug then doesn't work as well after an initial treatment. Even so, nevirapine is still used to treat both mothers and infected babies after birth.

Researchers have been looking for alternative treatments that have less risk of failing because the virus can escape the drug's effects. In the new studies, they tested different regimens, trying to find the ones that will allow more mothers or babies to push the level of HIV in their blood to zero. (They won't be cured if that happens, but they will stave off the development of the disease.)

In one study, researchers gave either of two treatments to 241 African women who'd taken a single dose of nevirapine at least six months earlier. Twenty-six percent of those who took a regimen that included nevirapine either died or failed to beat back the virus, compared to 8 percent of those who took the other regimen. The regimens were nevirapine plus tenofovir-emtricitabine or ritonavir-boosted lopinavir plus tenofovir-emtricitabine.

In the other study, researchers tested two regimens -- zidovudine and lamivudine plus nevirapine, or zidovudine and lamivudine plus ritonavir-boosted lopinavir -- in HIV-infected babies aged 6 months to 3 years. Only about 60 percent of the babies on the nevirapine regimen managed to both beat back the virus and survive, compared to about 78 percent of the other babies.

The results in the babies were so clear that the researchers ended their study early. Another study, which hopes to determine the best treatment for infected babies who didn't get nevirapine at birth, is continuing.

Nevirapine by itself is inexpensive, but many pregnant mothers in poor countries still aren't given it to prevent transmission to their babies, said Dr. Paul E. Palumbo, lead author of the second study and director of the International Pediatric HIV Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The cost will be a big challenge to providing the alternative regimens, both researchers say. "When you're already struggling to provide drugs and then you goose the cost dramatically by changing the regimen, it really requires a lot of creativity and problem-solving," Palumbo said. "It could take years for even the beginning of implementation, and many years before it's more comprehensively implemented."

Still, Lockman -- the lead author of the study of mothers -- said there's a "moral and ethical obligation to try to help the mothers who put their health on the line to prevent their babies from getting infected."

As for nevirapine, it is problematic but remains "a very useful drug, and there are many solutions to this problem," said Dr. Marc Lallemant, an AIDS specialist at Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of a commentary accompanying the study. "The bottom line is that it is an absolute priority to avoid HIV infection in children in the first place."

More information

Avert.org has details about mother-to-child HIV transmission.

SOURCES: Shahin Lockman, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Paul E. Palumbo, M.D., professor, pediatrics and medicine, and director, International Pediatric HIV Program, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H.; Marc Lallemant, M.D., research associate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Oct. 14, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. UC studies show marijuana has therapeutic value, reports to legislature
2. Second Dose of Gene Therapy for Inherited Blindness Proves Safe in Animal Studies
3. Studies Detail Possible Benefits of omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs With Arthritis
4. COPPERTONE(R) Solar Research Center Unveils Studies on Efficacy of Topical Antioxidants in Sunscreens at 2010 Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Dermatology
5. Promega - TOP srl Agreement Enables Live Animal Imaging for Cancer Studies
6. Most Drug Studies Dont Help Docs Pick Best Treatment
7. Gays, Lesbians Excluded From Some Medical Studies
8. Studies Show Significant Increases of C. Difficile Infections (CDI)
9. Studies examine Third Eye Retroscope during colonoscopy
10. Statement of Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, on House Passage of Health Reform Legislation
11. New studies on surgical options in inherited breast cancer show drastic treatment is not always best
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Studies Tout Alternative HIV Regimens for Women, Babies 
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the ... a national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel ... also provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading ... to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York ... globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile coaching ... contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise Agile ... of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS programs. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 ... characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will present the ... Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual Symposium ... a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is presented to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ... on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today announced ... joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 ... centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help ... the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Texas , Oct. 6, 2017   Provista, ... with more than $100 billion in purchasing power, today ... news and information. The Newsroom is the ... and industry trends, infographics, expert bios, news releases, slideshows ... having access to a wealth of resources at their ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... and Consulting, LLC , and named its founder as ... in Tennessee , will operate under ... EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care partners to include ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: