Epilepsy management in pregnant HIV plus women in sub-Saharan Africa, clinical aspects to consider: a scoping review

Sonia Menon, Lenka Benova, Hillary Mabeya

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

Abstract

BackgroundSince the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) related mortality has markedly declined. As HAART is becoming increasingly available, the infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is becoming a chronic condition. While pregnancy in HIV+ women in SSA has always been considered a challenging event for the mother and the fetus, for pregnant HIV+ women also diagnosed with epilepsy (WWE), there are additional risks as HIV increases the odds of developing seizures due to the vulnerability of the central nervous system to other infections, immune dysfunction, and overall metabolic disturbances. In light of a growing proportion of HIV+ WWE on HAART and an increasing number of pregnant women accessing mother-to-child transmission of HIV programs through provision of HAART in SSA, there is a need to develop contextualized and evidenced-based clinical strategies for the management of epilepsy in this population. In this study, we conduct a literature scoping review to identify issues that warrant consideration for clinical management.ResultTwenty-three articles were retained after screening, which covered six overarching clinical aspects: status epilepticus (SE), Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN), dyslipidemia, congenital malformation (CM), chronic kidney disease (CKD), and neurological development. No studies for our population of interest were identified, highlighting the need for a cautionary approach to be employed when extrapolating findings.ConclusionHigh risks of CM and drug interactions with first-line antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) warrant measures to increase the accessibility and choices of safer second-line AEDs. To ensure evidence-based management of epilepsy within this population, the potential high prevalence of SE, CKD, dyslipidemia, and SJS/TEN and the cumulative effect of drug-drug interactions should be considered. Further understanding of the intersections between pregnancy and drug-drug interactions in SSA is needed to ensure evidenced-based management of epilepsy in pregnant HIV+ WWE. To prevent SE, the barriers for AED treatment adherence in pregnant HIV+ women should be explored. Our review underscores the need to conduct cohort studies of HIV+ WWE in reproductive age over time and across pregnancies to capture the cumulative effect of HAART and AED to inform clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341
JournalBMC Medicine
Volume18
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)341
Number of pages15
ISSN1741-7015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • HIV
  • Epilepsy
  • Antiretroviral treatment
  • Antiepileptics
  • Pregnancy
  • Women of reproductive age
  • STEVENS-JOHNSON SYNDROME
  • CHRONIC KIDNEY-DISEASE
  • TOXIC EPIDERMAL NECROLYSIS
  • ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY
  • ANTIEPILEPTIC DRUGS
  • SERUM-LIPIDS
  • STATUS EPILEPTICUS
  • SOUTH-AFRICA
  • PREVALENCE
  • CARBAMAZEPINE

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