Prevalence of congenital anomalies in infants with in utero exposure to antiretrovirals

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 Feb;31(2):164-70. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e318235c7aa.


Background: Although use of efficacious interventions, including antiretrovirals (ARVs), has dramatically reduced the rate of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, the safety of in utero ARV exposure remains of concern.

Methods: Data regarding 1112 infants enrolled in the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol P1025 born between 2002 and 2007 were analyzed for this study. Congenital anomalies were classified based on the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program guidelines. Associations between congenital anomalies and timing of first in utero exposure to ARVs were evaluated by logistic regression analysis.

Results: Congenital anomalies were identified and confirmed in 61 of the 1112 infants, resulting in a prevalence of 5.49/100 live births (95% confidence interval, 4.22-6.99). Among the 80 anomalies identified, the organ systems involved included cardiovascular (n = 33), musculoskeletal (n = 15), renal (n = 9), genitourinary (n = 6), craniofacial (n = 4), and central nervous system (n = 2). First trimester exposure to efavirenz was associated with a significantly increased risk of congenital anomalies (odds ratio, 2.84; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-7.16). No significant associations were observed between exposure to other individual ARVs or classes of ARVs started at any time during pregnancy and infant congenital anomalies.

Conclusions: The observed rate of congenital anomalies in this cohort is higher than previously reported for the general population, but it is consistent with rates observed in other recent studies of children born to human immunodeficiency virus-infected women. Cardiovascular anomalies occurred most frequently. With the exception of a known teratogen (efavirenz), no statistically significant associations between in utero exposure to ARVs and congenital anomalies were identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents