Giving Viread (tenofovir) to pregnant women with hepatitis B virus (HBV) seems to succeed in preventing transmission of the virus to their babies, MedPage Today reports. This is accomplished without any apparent safety complications, even when the nucleotide inhibitor is taken in the first trimester. Christiane Stern, MD, senior medical scientist for Gilead Sciences, presented a poster on the study at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in Washington, DC.

The study’s investigators recruited 441 French women with chronic hepatitis B who took Viread between June 2008 and April 2010. The researchers found 16 pregnancies among the group, 14 of whom had enough follow-up data for inclusion into the analysis. Twelve of the women took Viread throughout their pregnancies, including in the first trimester. The remaining two women began the drug after a respective 20 and 30 weeks of gestation.

In none of these cases did tests for hep B surface antigens in the infants come up positive. There were no apparent birth defects. Nor were there any apparent safety issues as a consequence of breast-feeding for up to a year. The drug was well tolerated.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.