Pregnant women living with chronic hepatitis B can safely take Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, or TDF) during pregnancy and prevent transmission of the virus to their children, Infectious Disease Advisor reports.

Wei Yi, PhD, of Beijing Ditan Hospital at Capital Medical University, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of data on 81 women with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) who started Viread before they got pregnant. They compared this group with 63 women with chronic HBV who did not receive treatment with an antiviral during their pregnancy.

The infants of both groups of mothers all received immunoprophylaxis, meaning HBV vaccination or antibodies against the virus. The mothers and their newborns were all followed for at least seven months after the birth of the babies.

The study authors published their findings in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Viread proved well tolerated by the mothers. The rates of congenital abnormalities among the infants in the two groups were similar, as were the infants’ length and weight, Apgar score (a test given immediately following birth to determine an infant’s health status), rate of low birth weight, gestational age at birth and rate of cesarean section.

Among the women who took Viread, the drug significantly reduced their hep B viral load as well as their ALT liver enzymes prior to delivery.

At the seven-month postpartum mark, none of the infants tested positive for hepatitis B in the Viread group, compared with four (6.3%) infants who tested positive in the non-Viread group.

“TDF used throughout pregnancy can safely reduce the rate of [mother-to-child-transmission]” of hep B, the study authors concluded.

To read the Infectious Disease Advisor article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.