Rilpivirine in HIV-1-positive women initiating pregnancy: to switch or not to switch?


Background: Safety data about rilpivirine use during pregnancy remain scarce, and rilpivirine plasma concentrations are reduced during second/third trimesters, with a potential risk of viral breakthroughs. Thus, French guidelines recommend switching to rilpivirine-free combinations (RFCs) during pregnancy.

Objectives: To describe the characteristics of women initiating pregnancy while on rilpivirine and to compare the outcomes for virologically suppressed subjects continuing rilpivirine until delivery versus switching to an RFC.

Methods: In the ANRS-EPF French Perinatal cohort, we included women on rilpivirine at conception in 2010-18. Pregnancy outcomes were compared between patients continuing versus interrupting rilpivirine. In women with documented viral suppression (<50 copies/mL) before 14 weeks of gestation (WG) while on rilpivirine, we compared the probability of viral rebound (≥50 copies/mL) during pregnancy between subjects continuing rilpivirine versus those switching to RFC.

Results: Among 247 women included, 88.7% had viral suppression at the beginning of pregnancy. Overall, 184 women (74.5%) switched to an RFC (mostly PI/ritonavir-based regimens) at a median gestational age of 8.0 WG. Plasma HIV-1 RNA nearest delivery was <50 copies/mL in 95.6% of women. Among 69 women with documented viral suppression before 14 WG, the risk of viral rebound was higher when switching to RFCs than when continuing rilpivirine (20.0% versus 0.0%, P = 0.046). Delivery outcomes were similar between groups (overall birth defects, 3.8/100 live births; pregnancy losses, 2.0%; preterm deliveries, 10.6%). No HIV transmission occurred.

Conclusions: In virologically suppressed women initiating pregnancy, continuing rilpivirine was associated with better virological outcome than changing regimen. We did not observe a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.