Inclusion of pregnant women in antiretroviral drug research: what is needed to move forwards?

Fairlie, Lee, Waitt, Catriona ORCID: 0000-0003-0134-5855, Lockman, Shahin, Moorehouse, Michelle, Abrams, Elaine, Clayden, Polly, Boffito, Marta, Khoo, Saye ORCID: 0000-0002-2769-0967, Rees, Helen, Cournil, Amandine
et al (show 3 more authors) (2019) Inclusion of pregnant women in antiretroviral drug research: what is needed to move forwards? Journal of the International AIDS Society, 22 (9). e25372-.

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<h4>Introduction</h4>To adequately ascertain drug safety and efficacy, drug trials need to include participants from all groups likely to receive the medication following approval. Pregnant women, however, are mostly excluded from trials, and women participating are often required to use highly effective contraception and taken off study product (even off study) if they conceive. There is little commercial incentive for including pregnant women in clinical trials, even when preclinical animal and human pharmacokinetic and safety data appear reassuring. With this conservative approach, large numbers of pregnant women are exposed to drug postlicensing with little known about drug safety and efficacy, and little done to systematically monitor outcomes of pregnancy exposure.<h4>Discussion</h4>The article focuses on antiretrovirals for treating and preventing HIV, and presents potential approaches which could extend to other therapeutic areas, to obtaining adequate and timely data to inform use of these drugs in this population. Most importantly the pregnancy risk profile of investigational agents can be systematically stratified from low to high risk, based on guidelines from regulatory bodies. This stratification can determine the progress through preclinical work with animals and non-pregnant women to opportunistic studies among women who become pregnant on a clinical trial or within routine clinical treatment. Stratification can include pregnant women in clinical trials, concurrent with Phase II/III trials in non-pregnant adults, and ultimately to postmarketing surveillance for outcomes in pregnant women and their infants. Each step can be enabled by clear criteria from international and local regulatory bodies on progression through study phases, standardized protocols for collecting relevant data, collaborative data sharing, pregnancy outcomes surveillance systems supported by committed funding for these endeavours.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A formalized step-wise approach to including pregnant women in antiretroviral drug research should become the new norm. Systematic implementation of this approach would yield more timely and higher quality pregnancy dosing, safety and efficacy data. Through more vigorous action, regulatory bodies could responsibly overcome reluctance to include pregnant women in drug trials. Funders, researchers and programme implementers need to be galvanized to progressively include pregnant women in research - the use of newer, more effective drugs in women is at stake (349).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV, teratogen, drug dosing, maternal health, child health, antiretroviral, pregnancy, dolutegravir, birth defects
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 08:06
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:26
DOI: 10.1002/jia2.25372
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