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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Feb;56(2):816-24. doi: 10.1128/AAC.05186-11. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Improved oral bioavailability of lopinavir in melt-extruded tablet formulation reduces impact of third trimester on lopinavir plasma concentrations.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Lopinavir exposure was reduced during the third trimester in pregnant women receiving standard dosing of the soft-gel capsule (SGC; 400/100 mg twice daily [b.i.d.]). Pharmacokinetic data on the lopinavir tablet in pregnancy are limited. On the basis of the tablet's improved bioavailability, standard dosing (400/100 mg b.i.d.) may provide adequate lopinavir exposure in pregnancy without a need for dose adjustment. Here we compared the total and unbound lopinavir pharmacokinetics throughout pregnancy in the second and third trimesters in HIV-infected women receiving standard dosing of the lopinavir SGC or tablet. Postpartum sampling was also performed in patients continuing therapy postdelivery. Blood samples were collected at 0 to 12 h postdosing, and lopinavir concentrations were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Nineteen patients were included: 8 received the SGC (cohort 1) and 11 received the tablet (cohort 2). Total lopinavir exposures in the third trimester were lower than those in the second trimester (35 and 28% for cohorts 1 and 2, respectively) and postpartum (35% for cohort 2). In the third trimester, the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) from 0 to 12 h (AUC(0-12)) and maximum concentration were ∼15% and 25% higher, respectively, for the lopinavir tablet than the SGC. One SGC patient had lopinavir concentrations of <1,000 ng/ml; all patients on the tablet had concentrations of >1,000 ng/ml. In cohort 2, the percentage of the AUC that was unbound was higher (nonsignificantly) in the second (1.28%) and third (1.18%) trimesters than postpartum (1.01%). Seventeen of 19 patients had an undetectable viral load at delivery. There were no HIV transmissions. Although lopinavir (tablet) exposures were reduced during the third trimester, the higher total and unbound concentrations achieved in women receiving the tablet than in women receiving the SGC suggest that the tablet's improved oral bioavailability may partly compensate for the reduction in lopinavir exposure during the later stages of pregnancy.

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