Integrase inhibitors in late pregnancy and rapid HIV viral load reduction

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Mar;214(3):385.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.12.052.


Background: Minimizing time to HIV viral suppression is critical in pregnancy. Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), like raltegravir, are known to rapidly suppress plasma HIV RNA in nonpregnant adults. There are limited data in pregnant women.

Objective: We describe time to clinically relevant reduction in HIV RNA in pregnant women using INSTI-containing and non-INSTI-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART) options.

Study design: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of pregnant HIV-infected women in the United States from 2009 through 2015. We included women who initiated ART, intensified their regimen, or switched to a new regimen due to detectable viremia (HIV RNA >40 copies/mL) at ≥20 weeks gestation. Among women with a baseline HIV RNA permitting 1-log reduction, we estimated time to 1-log RNA reduction using the Kaplan-Meier estimator comparing women starting/adding an INSTI in their regimen vs other ART. To compare groups with similar follow-up time, we also conducted a subgroup analysis limited to women with ≤14 days between baseline and follow-up RNA data.

Results: This study describes 101 HIV-infected pregnant women from 11 US clinics. In all, 75% (76/101) of women were not taking ART at baseline; 24 were taking non-INSTI containing ART, and 1 received zidovudine monotherapy. In all, 39% (39/101) of women started an INSTI-containing regimen or added an INSTI to their ART regimen. Among 90 women with a baseline HIV RNA permitting 1-log reduction, the median time to 1-log RNA reduction was 8 days (interquartile range [IQR], 7-14) in the INSTI group vs 35 days (IQR, 20-53) in the non-INSTI ART group (P < .01). In a subgroup of 39 women with first and last RNA measurements ≤14 days apart, median time to 1-log reduction was 7 days (IQR, 6-10) in the INSTI group vs 11 days (IQR, 10-14) in the non-INSTI group (P < .01).

Conclusion: ART that includes INSTIs appears to induce more rapid viral suppression than other ART regimens in pregnancy. Inclusion of an INSTI may play a role in optimal reduction of HIV RNA for HIV-infected pregnant women presenting late to care or failing initial therapy. Larger studies are urgently needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of this approach.

Keywords: HIV; integrase inhibitors; pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • HIV*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Oxazines
  • Piperazines
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pyridones
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Load / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • HIV Integrase Inhibitors
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • Oxazines
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridones
  • RNA, Viral
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • dolutegravir