Background: Nevirapine given once-daily for the first 6, 14, or 28 weeks of life to infants exposed to HIV-1 via breastfeeding reduces transmission through this route compared with single-dose nevirapine at birth or neonatally. We aimed to assess incremental safety and efficacy of extension of such prophylaxis to 6 months.
Methods: In our phase 3, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled HPTN 046 trial, we assessed the incremental benefit of extension of once-daily infant nevirapine from age 6 weeks to 6 months. We enrolled breastfeeding infants born to mothers with HIV-1 in four African countries within 7 days of birth. Following receipt of nevirapine from birth to 6 weeks, infants without HIV infection were randomly allocated (by use of a computer-generated permuted block algorithm with random block sizes and stratified by site and maternal antiretroviral treatment status) to receive extended nevirapine prophylaxis or placebo until 6 months or until breastfeeding cessation, whichever came first. The primary efficacy endpoint was HIV-1 infection in infants at 6 months and safety endpoints were adverse reactions in both groups. We used Kaplan-Meier analyses to compare differences in the primary outcome between groups. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00074412.
Findings: Between June 19, 2008, and March 12, 2010, we randomly allocated 1527 infants (762 nevirapine and 765 placebo); five of whom had HIV-1 infection at randomisation and were excluded from the primary analyses. In Kaplan-Meier analysis, 1·1% (95% CI 0·3-1·8) of infants who received extended nevirapine developed HIV-1 between 6 weeks and 6 months compared with 2·4% (1·3-3·6) of controls (difference 1·3%, 95% CI 0-2·6), equating to a 54% reduction in transmission (p=0·049). However, mortality (1·2% for nevirapine vs 1·1% for placebo; p=0·81) and combined HIV infection and mortality rates (2·3%vs 3·2%; p=0·27) did not differ between groups at 6 months. 125 (16%) of 758 infants given extended nevirapine and 116 (15%) of 761 controls had serious adverse events, but frequency of adverse events, serious adverse events, and deaths did not differ significantly between treatment groups.
Interpretation: Nevirapine prophylaxis can safely be used to provide protection from mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 via breastfeeding for infants up to 6 months of age.
Funding: US National Institutes of Health.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.