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Issue No. 20  | July 26, 2013
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NIH Study Suggests Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnancy Are Not Linked to Children’s Language Delays

"The combinations of anti-HIV drugs recommended for pregnant women do not appear in general to increase their children’s risk for language delay, according to a study from a National Institutes of Health research network.

“Children exposed to HIV in the womb and whose mothers received combinations of anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy were no more likely to have language delays than were children exposed to HIV in the womb and whose mothers did not receive these recommended treatments, the study found. In both groups, about 25 percent of the children had language delays by 2 years of age, suggesting that the delays were not associated with the anti-HIV drugs taken during pregnancy.

“The findings allay concerns in the medical community that the drug combinations could affect the developing fetal brain in ways that cause language delays. Typically, these combination treatments include three or more drugs from at least two drug classes. …

“However, the researchers concluded that one drug sometimes used in the combination treatments should be monitored. Children whose mothers received combination therapy containing the drug atazanavir were more likely to have language delays at 1 year of age than were the other children in the study. These children appeared to catch up to their peers. The researchers noted that these effects were not seen in children in the atazanavir group at age 2.”

More information is available:


“Drugs That Fight HIV” Brochure Recently Updated

NIAID recently updated the “Drugs That Fight HIV” brochure, which features images of FDA-approved antiretroviral medications, grouped by drug class and clearly identified by both generic and brand names. The brochure can be used by health care professionals when discussing HIV treatment with patients.

The brochure includes the addition of three drugs:

  • Rilpivirine (brand name: Edurant), a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), approved May 2011.
  • Emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir (brand name: Complera), a combination drug, approved August 2011.
  • Elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir (brand name: Stribild), a combination drug, approved August 2012.

Other additions include brief descriptions of each drug class and new drug formulations with accompanying images.


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