Pregnant and breastfeeding women in Option B+ in Malawi received antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) containing efavirenz (EFV) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). However, effects on growth, renal, bone metabolism, and neurodevelopment of long-term exposure to low doses of these drugs through breast milk in HIV-exposed infants are unclear.
Prospective cohorts of TDF-and-EFV-exposed and TDF-and-EFV-unexposed breastfed infants of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected mothers in Option B+ were recruited in 2:1 ratio, respectively, followed from birth to 18 months. Infants with low birth weight, premature birth, and congenital abnormalities were excluded. Anthropometrics were assessed at birth, 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12, and 18 months. Neurodevelopment assessments used the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III from 6 weeks. Creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, and phosphorus were assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months.
Of 260 HIV-and-ARV-exposed and 125 HIV-and-ARV-unexposed infants enrolled at birth, 87% and 57%, 78% and 59%, 77% and 54%, 73% and 51%, and 65% and 43% completed 6-weeks, 3, 6, 12, and 18 months visits, respectively. There were no significant differences in the mean Z-scores for length-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-length, mid-upper arm circumference-for-age, and head circumference-for-age between groups except at 6-weeks for length-for-age. No bone fractures occurred. Neurodevelopment outcomes were similar between groups. Of creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, and serum phosphate measurements, 1.7%, 2.6%, and 3.3% reached any toxicity levels grades 1-4, respectively, with no differences between groups.
Long-term exposure to EFV and TDF through breastfeeding in infants of HIV-infected mothers does not seem to result in significant growth, neurodevelopment, renal, or bone adverse outcomes. Data support safety of breastfeeding through 18 months within the Option B+ program.