The World Health Organization (WHO) is using new evidence about the HIV drug dolutegravir (DTG) to suggest it be the first and second line of treatment for populations such as pregnant women and women of childbearing ages.
According to early studies, there is a potential link between the drug and neural tube defects in children born from women who were using the drug when they conceived. (Neural tube defects are congenital disabilities of the spinal cord and brain that leads to conditions like spina bifida). A 2018 Botswana study raised the possible safety concern after four cases out of 426 were reported in women who became pregnant while taking the drug.
those preliminary findings, countries are suggesting pregnant women
and childbearing age women to use efavirenz (EFV).
large clinical trials revealed new information about the safety of
DTF and EFV in Africa has added more to the evidence. Based on the
latest information, the chances for neural tube defects is much lower
than previous studies indicated.
groups’ guidelines also looked at the mathematical models related
to the benefits and dangers of the two drugs, along with HIV positive
people’s preferences and values, the factors of enacting HIV
programs in various countries and the cost.
was noted that DTG was far more effective, easier to take and had
fewer side effects than other drugs already in use. On top of that,
DTG has a high genetic barrier that could lead to drug resistance –
a noteworthy factor based on the fact that some resistance trends are
occurring in nevirapine and EFV-based regiments.
of 18 countries the WHO looked at, 12 of them noted higher than 10
percent pre-treatment drug resistance levels. The findings were used
to update the guidelines for 2019.
2019, middle and low-income counties were in the process of moving to
the DTG-based HIV treatment regimens. The latest recommendations are
geared to help other countries to better their HIV policies.
any medication, a person can take, knowledge is power. The more
information a person has, the higher chance they have of making an
informed decision. People are encouraged to talk to their doctor
about the different options available and weigh the pros and cons.
WHO wanted to stress how important it was to give women information so they can make a sound decision about their medical treatments. This is why WHO put together an advisory group of females who have HIV from backgrounds of all types to help them with developing policies that relate to their health. The agency said it would continue to look at DTG and its potential link to neural tube defects.
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