Atazanavir exposure in utero and neurodevelopment in infants: a comparative safety study

AIDS. 2016 May 15;30(8):1267-78. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001052.


Objective: To evaluate the safety of in-utero exposure to atazanavir and neurodevelopment in perinatally HIV-exposed but uninfected (PHEU) infants.

Design: Prospective cohort study of mother-PHEU infant pairs in the Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities protocol of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study.

Methods: Pregnant women living with HIV who initiated an antiretroviral regimen during pregnancy were followed from the date of antiretroviral initiation. Women were classified according to whether the antiretroviral regimen contained atazanavir and the trimester of antiretroviral initiation. Neurodevelopment at 9-15 months was evaluated using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-Third Edition (Bayley-III). We estimated mean differences for the five Bayley-III domains for atazanavir-containing regimens versus all other regimens. Models included baseline covariates and adjustment for failure to complete the Bayley-III using inverse probability weighting.

Results: PHEU infants were exposed in utero to atazanavir-containing (n = 167) and nonatazanavir-containing (n = 750) antiretroviral regimens. The adjusted mean differences (95% confidence interval) in Bayley-III domain scores for initiating an atazanavir-containing regimen in the first trimester were: cognitive, -1.5 (-6.2, 3.2); language, -3.3 (-7.6, 1.0); motor, -2.9 (-7.7, 1.9); social-emotional, 0.1 (-6.2, 6.4); and adaptive behavior, -0.1 (-4.3, 4.0). The mean differences for the second or third trimester were: cognitive, 0.4 (-3.2, 4.0); language, -3.4 (-6.2, -0.5); motor, 0.3 (-2.9, 3.4); social-emotional, -5.9 (-9.4, -2.3); and adaptive behavior, -2.5 (-5.9, 0.8).

Conclusion: In-utero exposure to atazanavir-containing regimens compared with non-atazanavir-containing regimens may adversely affect language and social-emotional development in PHEU infants during the first year of life, but the absolute difference is small.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atazanavir Sulfate / adverse effects*
  • Atazanavir Sulfate / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Atazanavir Sulfate