Pharmacokinetics of dapivirine transfer into blood plasma, breast milk, and cervicovaginal fluid of lactating women using the dapivirine vaginal ring

Academic Article


  • Breastfeeding (BF) women are an important population for biomedical HIV prevention strategies, but they are rarely included in trials. The 25-mg dapivirine vaginal ring (VR) reduced women’s risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection in two phase 3 trials conducted in Africa. We conducted a phase 1, open-label study (MTN-029/IPM 039) of dapivirine VR use among lactating women in Pittsburgh, PA, and Birmingham, AL, USA. MTN-029/IPM 039 enrolled 16 healthy adult women who had already weaned their infants but were still able to express breast milk. Women were instructed to use the VR continuously for 14 days and provided milk, plasma, and cervicovaginal fluid (CVF) samples for pharmacological analysis. No infants were exposed to the drug, but infant dosage was estimated according to FDA guidance. Adverse events (AEs) were collected at all contacts. The study was completed with 100% participant retention. Median dapivirine concentrations were 676 pg/ml in breast milk, 327 pg/ml in plasma (milk/plasma ratio 2.0), and 36.25 ng/mg in CVF. Six participants experienced 10 total AEs, none of which required VR discontinuation. The estimated mean daily infant dosage was 74.3 ng/kg/day. In this first study of dapivirine exposure during lactation, dapivirine VR use was associated with lower concentrations of detectable dapivirine in milk and plasma than in CVF samples and a favorable safety profile. Estimated daily levels of infant dapivirine exposure were also low. Additional studies are needed to evaluate longer periods of dapivirine VR use among BF mother-infant pairs living in regions with higher incidence of sexually transmitted HIV infection. (This study has been registered at under registration no. NCT02808949.)
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    Author List

  • Noguchi LM; Hoesley C; Kelly C; Scheckter R; Bunge K; Nel A; Marzinke MA; Hendrix CW; Dezzutti CS; Hillier SL
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 3