Effect of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis on morbidity and mortality of HIV-exposed, HIV-uninfected infants in South Africa: a randomised controlled, non-inferiority trial

By Brodie Daniels, Anna Coutsoudis, Eshia Moodley-Govender, Helen Mulol, Elizabeth Spooner, Photini Kiepiela, et al.

The Lancet Global Health, December, 2019

WHO guidelines recommend co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV-exposed, HIV-uninfected infants. These guidelines date back to an era in which HIV testing of infants was impossible and mothers had poor access to antiretroviral treatment. To determine whether this guideline requires revision in the current era of effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission and early infant diagnosis programmes, we aimed to investigate whether receiving no co-trimoxazole prophylaxis is inferior to receiving co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in the resulting incidence of grade 3 or 4 common childhood illnesses or mortality in breastfed HIV-exposed, HIV-uninfected infants.

We screened 1570 mother–child pairs for study enrolment, from whom (78%) eligible infants were enrolled into the study between Oct 16, 2013, and May 23, 2018. Of the infants enrolled, 611 (50%) were randomly assigned to the co-trimoxazole group and 609 (50%) were randomly assigned to the no co-trimoxazole group. One (<1%) infant in the no co-trimoxazole group was excluded from the analysis of the final outcomes for having received traditional medicine (which only became apparent after randomisation); therefore, 611 (50%) infants in the co-trimoxazole group and 608 (50%) infants in the no co-trimoxazole group were included in the final intention-to-treat analysis. 136 (22%) infants in the co-trimoxazole group and 139 (23%) infants in the no co-trimoxazole group did not complete the 12-month study visit, predominantly because of loss to follow-up (93 [15%] infants in the co-trimoxazole group; 90 [15%] infants in the no co-trimoxazole group). The cumulative probability of the composite primary outcome was 0·114 (95% CI 0·076 to 0·147; 49 events) in the co-trimoxazole group versus 0·0795 (0·044 to 0·115; 39 events) in the no co-trimoxazole group. The risk difference (no co-trimoxazole group minus co-trimoxazole group) was −0·0319 (–0·075 to 0·011), meaning that the risk was around 3 percentage points lower in the no co-trimoxazole group on the additive scale.

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Sunday, 23 February 2020