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CDC issues guidelines for prescribing pill to prevent HIV

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 27, 2012

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Interim guidance for prescribing the antiretroviral drug Truvada to prevent HIV infection among high-risk heterosexual patients has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recommendations apply to adults at high risk of developing HIV through heterosexual sex, such as those with partners who have the illness.

Before prescribing the medication for pre-exposure prophylaxis, physicians should confirm that the individual is HIV-negative, and women of reproductive age should receive a pregnancy test, according to the guidelines in the Aug. 10 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Doctors are encouraged to test women regularly for pregnancy during treatment. If a woman becomes pregnant, the CDC recommends that physicians discuss the potential risks and benefits of continuing the medication.

Doctors should inform patients that the efficacy of Truvada strongly is correlated with drug adherence and that it should be used in conjunction with safe sex practices (link).

Physicians also are encouraged to tell patients that the long-term safety of the drug in people without HIV and in a fetus has not yet been determined. Serious adverse events resulting from the medication should be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch.

The CDC’s guidance follows the approval of Truvada for preexposure prophylaxis on July 16 by the Food and Drug Administration. The CDC already has recommendations for prescribing the medication to bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/08/27/hlbf0827.htm.

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