Anti-HIV drugs in pregnancy not linked to children's language delays

July 19, 2013, National Institutes of Health

(Medical Xpress)—The combinations of anti-HIV drugs recommended for pregnant women do not appear in general to increase their children's risk for language delay, according to a study from a National Institutes of Health research network.

Children exposed to HIV in the and whose mothers received combinations of anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy were no more likely to have language delays than were children exposed to HIV in the womb and whose mothers did not receive these recommended treatments, the study found. In both groups, about 25 percent of the children had language delays by 2 years of age, suggesting that the delays were not associated with the anti-HIV drugs taken during pregnancy.

The findings allay concerns in the medical community that the could affect the developing in ways that cause language delays. Typically, these combination treatments include three or more drugs from at least two drug classes. For a woman who is HIV-positive and pregnant, recommended combination therapies treat the infection and greatly reduce the chance that the virus will spread to the . Previous studies suggested that the drugs used to treat might contribute to language delays in infants and toddlers, even those who remained HIV-negative.

However, the researchers concluded that one drug sometimes used in the combination treatments should be monitored. Children whose mothers received containing the drug atazanavir were more likely to have language delays at 1 year of age than were the other children in the study. These children appeared to catch up to their peers. The researchers noted that these effects were not seen in children in the atazanavir group at age 2.

"Anti-HIV combination therapies do not appear to be linked to language delays, but it's prudent to monitor children exposed to HIV in the womb for signs of language delay," said study co-author George Siberry, M.D., of the Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of the NIH institutes that conducted the study. "Until there is a better understanding of what contributes to the delays, it's important to monitor the language development of in this group carefully, and refer them for language therapy at the first sign of a delay."

Dr. Siberry collaborated with first author Mabel L. Rice, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, Lawrence; Paige L. Williams, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Howard J. Hoffman, of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of NIH; and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), also part of NIH; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans.

In addition to the NICHD, NIDCD and NIMH, seven NIH institutes and funding agencies supported the study: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Office of AIDS Research, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The findings appear online in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Explore further: Study shows HIV-exposed children at high risk of language delay

Related Stories

Study shows HIV-exposed children at high risk of language delay

January 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Children exposed to HIV before birth are at risk for language impairments, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Anti-HIV drug use during pregnancy does not affect infant size, birth weight

May 2, 2012
Infants born to women who used the anti-HIV drug tenofovir as part of an anti-HIV drug regimen during pregnancy do not weigh less at birth and are not of shorter length than infants born to women who used anti-HIV drug regimens ...

Children exposed to HIV in the womb at increased risk for hearing loss

June 20, 2012
Children exposed to HIV in the womb may be more likely to experience hearing loss by age 16 than are their unexposed peers, according to scientists in a National Institutes of Health research network.

Antiepileptic drug use while pregnant impacts early child development

July 18, 2013
Children whose mothers took antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) while pregnant are at increased risk of early development issues, according to a new study published in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the International ...

DNDi and Cipla advance development of pediatric 4-in-1 ARVs to fulfill new WHO guidelines

June 30, 2013
The World Health Organization's new HIV treatment guidelines, released today at the 2013 International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference, include new antiretroviral (ARV) therapy (ART) recommendations for HIV-infected children, ...

Highly active antiretroviral therapies may be cardioprotective in HIV-infected children, teens

April 22, 2013
Long-term use of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) does not appear to be associated with impaired heart function in children and adolescents in a study that sought to determine the cardiac effects of prolonged ...

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

0 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.