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A Multi-Compartment, Single and Multiple Dose Pharmacokinetic Study of the Vaginal Candidate Microbicide 1% Tenofovir Gel



Tenofovir (TFV) gel is being evaluated as a microbicide with pericoital and daily regimens. To inhibit viral replication locally, an adequate concentration in the genital tract is critical.

Methods and Findings

Forty-nine participants entered a two-phase study: single-dose (SD) and multi-dose (MD), were randomized to collection of genital tract samples (endocervical cells [ECC], cervicovaginal aspirate and vaginal biopsies) at one of seven time points [0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 24 hr(s)] post-dose following SD exposure of 4 mL 1% TFV gel and received a single dose. Forty-seven were randomized to once (QD) or twice daily (BID) dosing for 2 weeks and to collection of genital tract samples at 4, 8 or 24 hrs after the final dose, but two discontinued prior to gel application. Blood was collected during both phases at the seven times post-dose. TFV exposure was low in blood plasma for SD and MD; median Cmax was 4.0 and 3.4 ng/mL, respectively (C≤29 ng/mL). TFV concentrations were high in aspirates and tissue after SD and MD, ranging from 1.2×104 to 9.9×106 ng/mL and 2.1×102 to 1.4×106 ng/mL, respectively, and did not noticeably differ between proximal and distal tissue. TFV diphosphate (TFV-DP), the intracellular active metabolite, was high in ECC, ranging from 7.1×103 to 8.8×106 ng/mL. TFV-DP was detectable in approximately 40% of the tissue samples, ranging from 1.8×102 to 3.5×104 ng/mL. AUC for tissue TFV-DP was two logs higher after MD compared to SD, with no noticeable differences when comparing QD and BID.


Single-dose and multiple-dose TFV gel exposure resulted in high genital tract concentrations for at least 24 hours post-dose with minimal systemic absorption. These results support further study of TFV gel for HIV prevention.

Trial registration NCT00561496



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Information in this article was accurate in October 19, 2011. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.