Malnutrition decreases effectiveness of HIV treatment in pregnant African women

In Uganda the prescription of three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, which aim to suppress the virus to prevent disease progression, have resulted in huge reductions in HIV mortality rates. However, disease is not the only scourge in Uganda, and a new study in The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology explores the impact food insecurity may have on treating pregnant women.

A U.S-Ugandan research team explored the affect pregnancy and malnutrition can have on the administration of lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) and efavirenz (EFV) drugs among HIV-infected women in Tororo, Uganda.

Blood and hair samples from 221 women were analyzed, revealing that 80% of patients were malnourished and 26% lost weight during their pregnancy. Average (median) Body Mass Index was found to be only 20.2 kg/m2.

The team found that, compared to well-nourished patients, drug exposure was reduced in these patients (LPV −33%, EFV −15%, ritonavir −17%).

"This study in 221 pregnant and breastfeeding HIV-infected women with severe food insecurity in Uganda showed that food insecurity influences exposure parameters to antiretroviral treatment," said Dr. Imke Bartelink. "Compared to previously published data from well-nourished women, food insecurity is associated with decreases in antiretroviral exposure ranging from 15% to 41% in this group of pregnant and breastfeeding women, irrespective of pregnancy status."

More information: Imke H. Bartelink, Rada M. Savic, Julia Mwesigwa, Jane Achan, Tamara Clark, Albert Plenty, Edwin Charlebois, Moses Kamya, Sera L. Young, Monica Gandhi, Diane Havlir, Deborah Cohan, Francesca Aweeka, "Pharmacokinetics of lopinavir/ritonavir and efavirenz in food insecure HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women in tororo, Uganda" The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, DOI: 10.1002/jcph.167

Related Stories

Antiretroviral treatment for HIV reduces food insecurity

date Dec 04, 2012

Can treatment with modern anti-HIV drugs help fight hunger for HIV-infected patients in Africa? Starting antiretroviral therapy for HIV reduces "food insecurity" among patients in Uganda, suggests a study published online ...

Recommended for you

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

date Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

date Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

date Apr 20, 2015

Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to ...

Research informs HIV treatment policy for inmates

date Apr 16, 2015

A national, five-year study of care for inmates with HIV brought strangers together, produced policy change in the Delaware Department of Corrections and documented the importance of good communication and ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.