Background: In resource-limited settings where nevirapine-containing regimen is the preferred regimen in women, data on severe adverse events (SAEs) according to CD4 cell count are limited. We estimated the incidence of SAEs according to CD4 cell count and identify their risk factors in nevirapine-treated women.
Methods: All HIV-infected women who initiated nevirapine-containing regimen in the MTCT-Plus operational program in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, were eligible for this study. Laboratory and clinical (rash) SAEs were classified as grade 3 and 4. Cox models were used to identify factors associated with the occurrence of SAEs.
Results: From August 2003 to October 2006, 290 women initiated a nevirapine-containing regimen at a median CD4 cell count of 186 cells/mm3 (IQR 124-266). During a median follow-up on treatment of 25 months, the incidence of all SAEs was 19.5/100 patient-years. The 24-month probability of occurrence of hepatotoxicity or rash was not different between women with a CD4 cell count >250 cells/mm3 and women with a CD4 cell count </=250 cells/mm3 (8.3% vs. 9.9%, Log-rank test: p = 0.75). In a multivariate proportional hazard model, neither CD4 cell count >250 cells/mm3 at treatment initiation nor initiation NVP-based regimen initiated during pregnancy were associated with the occurrence of SAEs.
Conclusion: CD4 cell count >250 cells/mm3 was not associated with a higher risk of severe hepatotoxicity and/or rash, as well as initiation of ART during pregnancy. Pharmacovogilance data as well as meta-analysis on women receiving NVP in these settings are needed for better information about NVP toxicity.