Tenofovir diphosphate concentrations in dried blood spots from pregnant and postpartum adolescent and young women receiving daily observed pre-exposure prophylaxis in sub-Saharan Africa

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 20;ciaa1872. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1872. Online ahead of print.


Background: Intracellular tenofovir diphosphate (TFV-DP) concentration measured in dried blood spots (DBS) is used to monitor cumulative adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We evaluated TFV-DP in DBS following daily oral PrEP (emtricitabine 200mg/tenofovir diphosphate 300mg) among pregnant and postpartum adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).

Methods: Directly observed PrEP was administered for 12 weeks in a pregnancy group (14-24 weeks gestation, n=20) and a postpartum group (6-12 weeks postpartum, n=20) of AGYW aged 16-24 years in sub-Saharan Africa. Weekly DBS TFV-DP was measured by validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay. Week 12 TFV-DP distributions were compared between groups with the Wilcoxon test. Population pharmacokinetic models were fit to estimate steady-state concentrations and create benchmarks for adherence categories. Baseline correlates of TFV-DP were evaluated.

Results: Participant median age was 20 years (IQR:19,22). Of 3360 doses, 3352 (>99%) were directly observed. TFV-DP median half-life was ten days (IQR:7, 12) in pregnancy and 17 days (IQR:14, 21) postpartum, with steady-state achieved by five and eight weeks, respectively. Observed median steady-state TFV-DP was 965 fmol/punch (IQR:691, 1166) in pregnancy vs 1406 fmol/punch (IQR:1053, 1859) postpartum (p=0.006). Modelled median steady-state TFV-DP was 881 fmol/punch (IQR: 667,1105) in pregnancy vs 1438 fmol/punch (IQR: 1178,1919) postpartum. In pooled analysis, baseline creatinine clearance was associated with observed TFV-DP concentrations.

Conclusion: TFV-DP in African AGYW was approximately one-third lower in pregnancy than postpartum. Population-specific benchmarks provided by this study can be used to guide PrEP adherence support in pregnant/postpartum African women.

Keywords: Intracellular TFV-DP; PrEP in pregnancy; adolescence.