Systemic Preexposure Prophylaxis for HIV: Translating Clinical Data to Clinical Practice

Julius Li, Staci L. Dufrene, Jason F. Okulicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the real-world implications of oral tenofovir-emtricitabine (TDF-FTC) for HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in clinical practice and highlight important considerations for its implementation. Data Sources: A search of PubMed (January 1996 through June 2013) was conducted using the terms HIV preexposure prophylaxis, HIV prevention, tenofovir, and emtricitabine. Abstracts from 2012-2013 HIV/AIDS conferences were also reviewed. Study Selection and Data Extraction: All pertinent original studies and review articles published in English were evaluated for inclusion. Reference citations from identified articles were examined for additional content. Data Synthesis: Although antiretroviral therapy has been highly successful in reducing AIDS outcomes and death in HIV-infected patients worldwide, transmission of HIV remains a major global health problem. The recent approval of oral TDF-FTC for HIV PrEP represents the latest biomedical intervention to help control this epidemic. Four published randomized studies evaluated the efficacy and safety of this combination to prevent HIV transmission in several at-risk populations, including men who have sex with men, serodiscordant couples, and heterosexuals residing in endemic regions. Overall, these studies demonstrated significant risk reductions in the incidence of new HIV infections with good short-term tolerability. Despite promising results from clinical studies, several limitations may hinder the utility of PrEP in clinical practice. Most importantly, PrEP was studied in the context of a comprehensive prevention program, including intensive counseling on adherence, high-risk behaviors, and traditional preventative measures. If PrEP is implemented without these adjunct measures, concerns about failure and increased resistance may eventually be realized. Conclusion: The greatest impact of PrEP, both clinically and financially, will likely arise from judicious application in select high-risk populations. If used appropriately, PrEP has the potential to augment reductions in the current incidence of new HIV infections, and pharmacists will have an important role in the careful selection and counseling of these targeted populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-518
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • emtricitabine
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • preexposure prophylaxis
  • prevention
  • tenofovir


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