SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
BERA, Ebrahim and MIA, Rafiq. Safety of nevirapine in HIV-infected pregnant women initiating antiretroviral therapy at higher CD4 counts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.11, pp.855-859. ISSN 2078-5135.
BACKGROUND: The package insert for nevirapine (NVP) cautions against use in HIV-infected women (including pregnant women) with CD4 counts >250 cells/ΐ. 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/! 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/! increases toxicity risk and should be avoided, necessitating urgent revision of current guidelines supporting this practice.