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Safety of in-utero antiretroviral exposure: neurologic outcomes in children who are HIV-exposed but uninfected

Crowell, C. S.; Williams, P. L.; Yildirim, C.; Van Dyke, R. B.; Smith, R.; Chadwick, E. G.; Seage, G. R., 3rd; Diperna, A.; Hazra, R.

Aids. 2020 Apr 21; 34(9):1377-1387


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether there is an increased risk of neurologic diagnoses in children who are HIV-exposed but uninfected (CHEU) exposed in utero to specific antiretroviral medications. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study of CHEU enrolled from 2007 to 2017. METHODS: We evaluated children for neurologic case status, including microcephaly, febrile seizures, seizure disorders, ophthalmologic disorders, and other neurologic disorders. Adjusted relative risks (aRRs) were estimated for the association between in-utero antiretroviral exposure and neurologic case using log-binomial regression, accounting for potential confounders. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to evaluate robustness of findings. RESULTS: Among 3747 eligible CHEU, 231 (6.2%) met neurologic case criteria (95% CI 5.4--7%). Most eligible children (86%) were exposed in utero to combination antiretroviral regimens. In adjusted models, children exposed to efavirenz at any time during pregnancy had higher risk of neurologic case status (aRR = 1.53, 95% CI 0.94--2.51). This association was stronger when comparing efavirenz exposure at conception to no exposure during pregnancy (aRR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.09--3.36) and considering follow-up and case diagnosis only through age 2 (aRR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.11--4.12). Children exposed to didanosine at conception and during the first trimester had increased risk of neurologic case status (aRR = 2.28, 95% CI 1.07--4.87 and aRR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.01--4.04, respectively), compared with didanosine-unexposed children. Children with dolutegravir exposure had some suggestion of increased risk of neurologic case (aRR = 2.43, 95% CI 0.75--7.84), which was observed consistently across several sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSION: Efavirenz and didanosine exposure during pregnancy were associated with higher risk of neurologic abnormalities in CHEU, and dolutegravir exposure showed some suggestive associations, which warrant further monitoring.

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