Possible Correlation Seen Between Antiretroviral Drugs and Cleft Palate

Dr. Alex Farnoosh, a Los Angeles periodontist, comments on a study that finds antiretroviral drugs used to reduce the risk of passing the HIV virus to unborn children may lead to facial deformities.

Beverly Hills, California (May 2012) – Although they are not approved as Category A or “safe for pregnancy” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), doctors have been prescribing antiretroviral drug therapies to pregnant women with HIV in order to combat the transmission of the virus from mother to child, says Los Angeles periodontist Dr. Alex Farnoosh.

A new study finds that there may be a link between cleft lip and cleft palate deformities in newborns and mothers who were on antiretroviral drug therapies. Though procedures to fix cleft lips and cleft palates can be invasive and expensive, the success of those drug therapies in preventing HIV transmission may outweigh the risk. Mothers who begin an antiretroviral drug treatment reduce the danger of transmission from about 20 percent to less than 1 percent.

The study, published in a recent issue of the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, looked specifically at a population of mothers who were on antiretroviral drug programs and the occurrences of cleft lip and palate defects in their newborns. Researchers used “reporting odds ratios” to estimate the specific risk. These ratios examine the risk of a particular outcome given certain factors in context. Using public data from the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System during a five-year period, the authors of the study found 26 cases of cleft lip and/or palate linked to antiretroviral medications. This finding may pave the way for more advanced research to study the full effects of those drug therapies and the health of newborns.

Dr. Farnoosh, a periodontist in Beverly Hills, says, “As a cosmetic and periodontal surgeon, I have seen many cases of cleft lip and palate defects from mild to severe. The procedure to fix the problem is complex and can be quite invasive. Even so, the surgery is necessary for maintaining oral health and diminishing the stigmas associated with facial deformities. The stigmas and complications associated with HIV infection are also severe, which would lead to me believe the benefits of antiretroviral drug therapies outweigh the risk.”

Having no known cure, HIV weakens a person’s immune system and can develop into AIDS, eventually leading to death. Though the risk of transmission from mother to child is relatively low, doctors recommend that pregnant women with HIV still seek antiretroviral drug therapies. This research is an important finding and can assist health professionals in prescribing the right medications to better serve their patients.

Dr. Farnoosh is sought after for his expertise in advanced cosmetic procedures. He has developed advanced methods to fix a gummy smile and a one-of-a-kind, same-day gum bleaching method. In addition to his expertise in this field, he is a top choice for the care and treatment of mild to severe periodontal issues.

Findings this extraordinary become powerful allies for Dr. Farnoosh, allowing him to advance his own work with oral health concerns.

A gum specialist, Dr. Farnoosh can help you see what it’s like to smile with total confidence. Request an appointment or call (310) 657-0503 to set up a consultation.