Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy 2017 08 11() 1-13 doi 10.1080/14656566.2017.1363180
Infants who acquire HIV have an exceptionally high risk of morbidity and mortality if they do not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). Areas covered: This review aims to summarize the currently available evidence on ART in HIV-infected neonates. Data were obtained from literature searches from PubMed, abstracts from International Conferences (2000-2017), and authors’ files. Expert opinion: Current evidence favors early diagnosis and prompt ART of HIV infection in newborns. The precise timing of initiation of ART remains undetermined. Very early (close to birth) ART appears to limit the size of the viral reservoir and may restrict replication-competent virus, but the clinical benefit remains unproven. Among the current options for initial therapy, in full term neonates from 2 weeks of life onwards, a lopinavir/ritonavir-based three-drug regimen is preferred. In term infants, younger than 2 weeks a nevirapine-based regimen is recommended, although there are no clinical trial data supporting that initiating treatment before 2 weeks improves outcome compared to starting afterwards. Existing safety information is insufficient to recommend ART in preterm infants, with pharmacokinetic data available for zidovudine only. If ART is considered in this setting, an individual case assessment of the risk/benefit ratio of treatment should be made.