Pharmacologic Considerations for Preexposure Prophylaxis in Transgender Women

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Aug 15;72 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):S230-4. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001105.


Studies of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)-emtricitabine (FTC)-based preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have not focused on transgendered women who are at disproportionate risk of HIV acquisition. Concerns exist for drug interactions between cross-sex therapy (estradiol, progestins, and spironolactone) with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate-emtricitabine. This review assessed the experimental and theoretical risk for such drug interactions. It was found that none of these medications are implicated as major perpetrators of drug interactions, and the classes use different metabolic pathways for clearance, suggesting a low likelihood for interactions in either direction. Subanalyses of transgender women in Preexposure Prophylaxis Initiative suggested PrEP efficacy if adherence was high. Nevertheless, several research gaps were identified, particularly the need for controlled interaction studies in transgendered women, including effects on renal clearance, intracellular tenofovir diphosphate and emtricitabine triphosphate in target cells, as well as hormone effects on HIV susceptibility and immunity. PrEP should continue to be offered to transgender women while additional research is planned or pending.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Directive Counseling
  • Emtricitabine / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis* / methods
  • Tenofovir / pharmacology*
  • Transgender Persons*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Tenofovir
  • Emtricitabine