Published online Apr 28, 2016. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v8.i12.557
Peer-review started: November 25, 2015
First decision: December 28, 2015
Revised: February 9, 2016
Accepted: March 22, 2016
Article in press: March 23, 2016
Published online: April 28, 2016
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects about 3% of the world’s population, with the highest prevalence in individuals under 40. The prevalence in pregnant women varies with geographical distribution (highest in developing countries). Prevalence also increases in sub-populations of women at high risk for blood-transmitted infections. HCV infection in pregnancy represents a non-negligible problem. However, most of the past antiviral regimens cannot be routinely offered to pregnant or breastfeeding women because of their side effects. We briefly reviewed the issue of treatment of HCV infection in pregnant/breastfeeding women focusing on the effects of the new direct-acting antivirals on fertility, pregnancy and lactation in animal studies and on the potential risk for humans based on the pharmacokinetic properties of each drug. Currently, all new therapy regimens are contraindicated in this setting because of lack of sufficient safety information and adequate measures of contraception are still routinely recommended for female patients of childbearing potential.
Core tip: Until recently, the only drugs available for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection had a well-documented teratogenic effect limiting their use in childbearing women. Recently, new generation drugs, designated the direct-acting antivirals have been approved. There are no studies available describing their effects on pregnant and lactating women. We here will try to analyze their pharmacokinetic properties and data from animal studies to try to predict their potential use pregnancy.