Objective: Nevirapine and cotrimoxazole are associated with hematologic toxicities and skin-rash. Safety of their concurrent use for prophylaxis over extended periods among HIV-exposed uninfected infants has not been previously assessed.
Design: Secondary data analysis of the 'HIV Prevention Trials Network-046 protocol' (version 2.0), a phase-III, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that assessed efficacy and safety of nevirapine prophylaxis against breast milk transmission of HIV-1.
Methods: Trial infants received 6-month study nevirapine/placebo, and standard-of-care peripartum single-dose nevirapine+/- zidovudine 'tail', and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis from 6 weeks through breastfeeding cessation. Adverse events were monitored using United States Division of AIDS Toxicity Tables (2004). Risk of neutropenia, anemia and skin-rash in the cotrimoxazole + nevirapine and the cotrimoxazole + placebo groups were compared using negative-binomial regression.
Results: Incidence of neutropenia and/or anemia, and skin-rash was highest during the first 6 weeks of life and declined, thereafter, regardless of study group. Time to first adverse event after 6 weeks was similar in cotrimoxazole + nevirapine and cotrimoxazole + placebo groups: hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) was 1.26 (0.96-1.66) for neutropenia and/or anemia (all grades), 1.27 (0.80-2.03) for neutropenia and/or anemia (grade ≥3) and 1.16 (0.46-2.90) for skin-rash (grade ≥2). There were no statistically significant differences in immediate (6 weeks-6 months) and long-term (6-12 months) adverse event risk among infants on cotrimoxazole + nevirapine versus cotrimoxazole + placebo.
Conclusion: Extended nevirapine and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis through 6 months of age among HIV-exposed uninfected infants did not appear to increase the immediate or long-term risk of neutropenia, anemia or skin-rash. Concurrent use beyond 6 months, however, needs to be evaluated.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00074412.