Meconium Atazanavir Concentrations and Early Language Outcomes in HIV-Exposed Uninfected Infants With Prenatal Atazanavir Exposure

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Jun 1;69(2):178-86. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000558.


Objective: To investigate whether prenatal atazanavir (ATV) exposure, assessed by meconium antiretroviral (ARV) quantification, predicts early child language outcomes. Prenatal ATV exposure previously was associated with poorer language development in 1-year olds.

Methods: Pregnant women with HIV and their uninfected infants enrolled in the Surveillance Monitoring of Antiretroviral Therapy Toxicities study. Meconium ARV concentrations were quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Language development at 1 year was assessed with MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) and Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-Third Edition (Bayley-III). Late language emergence was defined as ≥ 1 of 4 CDI scores ≤ 10th percentile for age. Associations between fetal ATV exposure timing and duration, meconium ATV concentration, and language outcomes were evaluated, adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: Through 2013, meconium samples were available from 175 of 432 infants with prenatal ATV exposure. Valid Bayley-III (n = 93) and CDI (n = 106) assessments also were available. After adjustment for potential confounders, higher ATV meconium concentrations were associated with lower late language emergence risk (P = 0.04) and cumulative ATV exposure duration also was associated with higher Bayley-III Language scores (P = 0.03). Maternal ATV duration and initiation week correlated with ATV meconium concentrations (positively and negatively, respectively).

Conclusions: Higher meconium ATV concentrations were protective against developmental language delays at 1 year, suggesting the importance of fetal ATV detoxification into meconium. This information supports ATV exposure safety for infant language development. ATV is a preferred ARV for pregnant women with HIV, suggesting the importance of ATV safety investigations. Additionally, further pursuit of the influences on language development in HIV-exposed uninfected infants is required.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / analysis*
  • Atazanavir Sulfate
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language Development*
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Meconium / chemistry*
  • Oligopeptides / analysis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Pyridines / analysis*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Oligopeptides
  • Pyridines
  • Atazanavir Sulfate