Antiretroviral Prophylaxis Drugs

Antiretroviral Prophylaxis drugs are taken to prevent the spread of HIV. It is taken most often by HIV-positive mothers to prevent the transmission of the disease to her unborn child.

In a study conducted in 2012, a correlation was found between Antiretroviral Prophylaxis drugs and birth defects. The study was published in the Cleft-Palate Craniofacial Journal, and looked at evidence spanning over five years. In those years, there was a recorded 27 cases of cleft lip and cleft palate in children whose mother was taking the drug.

The study mentioned the drug Sustiva as having the highest rate of birth defects in its patients. Sustiva is classified as a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), and has been used in combination with Combivir and Truvada. An early report on the drug revealed that it could potentially cause birth defects, but a report published in 2010 claimed that Sustiva did not, in fact, have that result. The 2012 study proved that the first research may have been the most accurate.


The following Antiretroviral Prophylaxis drugs have been found to cause birth defects:

  • Sustiva (efavirenz)
  • Epivir (lamivudine)
  • Trizivir (combination therapy with abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine)
  • Viracept (nelfinavir)
  • Viramune (nevirapine)
  • Zerit (stavudine)
  • Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)
  • Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine)
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