Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-1-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States
Ritonavir (Norvir, RTV)
(Last updated:7/31/2012; last reviewed:7/31/2012)
Ritonavir (Norvir, RTV) is classified as FDA Pregnancy Category B.
Animal carcinogenicity studies
Ritonavir was neither mutagenic nor clastogenic in a series of in vitro and animal in vivo screening tests. Carcinogenicity studies in mice and rats have been completed. In male mice, a dose-dependent increase in adenomas of the liver and combined adenomas and carcinomas of the liver was observed at levels of 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg/day; based on AUC, exposure in male mice at the highest dose was approximately 0.3-fold that in male humans at the recommended therapeutic dose. No carcinogenic effects were observed in female mice with exposures 0.6-fold that of female humans at the recommended therapeutic dose. No carcinogenic effects were observed in rats at exposures up to 6% of recommended therapeutic human exposure.
No effect of ritonavir has been seen on reproductive performance or fertility in rats at drug exposures 40% (male) and 60% (female) of that achieved with human therapeutic dosing; higher doses were not feasible because of hepatic toxicity in the rodents.
No ritonavir-related teratogenicity has been observed in rats or rabbits. Developmental toxicity, including early resorptions, decreased body weight, ossification delays, and developmental variations such as wavy ribs and enlarged fontanelles, was observed in rats; however, these effects occurred only at maternally toxic dosages (exposure equivalent to 30% of human therapeutic exposure). In addition, a slight increase in cryptorchidism was also noted in rats at exposures equivalent to 22% of the human therapeutic dose. In rabbits, developmental toxicity (resorptions, decreased litter size, and decreased fetal weight) was observed only at maternally toxic doses (1.8 times human therapeutic exposure based on body surface area).
In the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry, sufficient numbers of first-trimester exposures to ritonavir have been monitored to be able to detect at least a 2-fold increase in risk of overall birth defects. No such increase in birth defects has been observed with ritonavir. Among cases of first-trimester ritonavir exposure reported to the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry, the prevalence of birth defects was 2.2% (39 of 1,741 births; 95% CI, 1.6%–3.0%) compared with a total prevalence of 2.7% in the U.S. population, based on CDC surveillance.1
Placental and breast milk transfer
Transplacental passage of ritonavir has been observed in rats with fetal tissue-to-maternal-serum ratios >1.0 at 24 hours post-dose in mid- and late-gestation fetuses. In a human placental perfusion model, the clearance index of ritonavir was very low, with little accumulation in the fetal compartment and no accumulation in placental tissue.2 In a Phase I study of pregnant women and their infants (PACTG 354, see below), transplacental passage of ritonavir was minimal.3 Additionally, in a study of cord blood samples from six women treated with ritonavir during pregnancy, the cord blood concentration was less than the assay limit of detection in 83% and was only 0.38 µg/mL in the remaining woman.4 Ritonavir is excreted in the milk of lactating rats; it is unknown if it is excreted in human milk.
Human studies in pregnancy
A Phase I/II safety and PK study (PACTG 354) of ritonavir (500 or 600 mg twice daily) in combination with zidovudine and lamivudine in pregnant HIV-infected women and their infants showed lower levels of ritonavir during pregnancy than postpartum.3 Ritonavir concentrations are also reduced during pregnancy versus postpartum when the drug is used at a low dose (100 mg) to boost the concentrations of other PIs.5,6
- Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry Steering Committee. Antiretroviral pregnancy registry international interim report for 1 Jan 1989 - 31 January 2012. Wilmington, NC: Registry Coordinating Center; 2012. Available at http://www.APRegistry.com.
- Casey BM, Bawdon RE. Placental transfer of ritonavir with zidovudine in the ex vivo placental perfusion model. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Sep 1998;179(3 Pt 1):758-761. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9757985.
- Scott GB, Rodman JH, Scott WA, et al. Pharmacokinetic and virologic response to ritonavir (RTV) in combination with zidovudine (ZDV) and lamivudine (3TC) in HIV-10-infected pregnant women and their infants. Paper presented at: 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI); February 24-28, 2002; Seattle, WA. Abstract 794.
- Mirochnick M, Dorenbaum A, Holland D, et al. Concentrations of protease inhibitors in cord blood after in utero exposure. Pediatr Infect Dis J. Sep 2002;21(9):835-838. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12352805.
- Best BM, Stek AM, Mirochnick M, et al. Lopinavir tablet pharmacokinetics with an increased dose during pregnancy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. Aug 2010;54(4):381-388. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20632458.
- Mirochnick M, Best BM, Stek AM, et al. Atazanavir pharmacokinetics with and without tenofovir during pregnancy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. Apr 15 2011;56(5):412-419. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21283017.