First-line ART for pregnant and breastfeeding women and ARV drugs for their infants

Consolidated ARV guidelines, June 2013

Rationale and supporting evidence: Infant prophylaxis

No new data inform any change in the recommendations on infant prophylaxis. For breastfeeding infants, six weeks of infant NVP is recommended; for infants receiving replacement feeding, four to six weeks of infant NVP or AZT continues to be recommended. If toxicity from infant NVP requires discontinuing the drug or if infant NVP is not available, infant 3TC can be substituted. Several studies (146,147) have safely used infant prophylaxis during breastfeeding with 3TC.

Although the Guidelines Development Group did not formally review this, it considered several scenarios in which longer infant prophylaxis might be appropriate. Because several weeks or months are required for maternal ART to achieve virological suppression and a breastfeeding infant may not be protected against postnatal transmission during that period, or when a breastfeeding mother initiates ART very late in pregnancy (such as less than four weeks prior to delivery) during labour or postpartum, increasing the duration of infant NVP prophylaxis to 12 weeks can be considered.

Infant prophylaxis is also important when a breastfeeding mother interrupts ART during breastfeeding, as this places her infant at increased risk of postnatal transmission. In such situations, providing daily infant NVP during the period of maternal ART interruption should be considered, and this could be stopped six weeks after maternal ART is restarted (or one week after breastfeeding ends, whichever comes first). Table 7.8 summarizes the range of scenarios for maternal and infant prophylaxis.