BACKGROUND: Efavirenz (EFV) is an antiretroviral (ARV) drug associated with neuropsychological effects. Limited data describing the long-term impact of EFV-based regimens on neuropsychological performance over more than 3 years are available. METHODS: We enrolled a subset of participants from a large initially EFV placebo-controlled trial of therapies for HIV subjects naïve to ARV treatment (A5095). Clinical follow-up continued for 184 weeks of study. Subjects were assessed with brief neuropsychological testing, a symptom questionnaire of EFV-associated symptoms, the Pittsburgh Sleep Index, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, and an anxiety rating interview. RESULTS: Over 184 weeks on EFV, the median NPZ3 score in 86 evaluable patients improved from baseline by +0.5 (p < .01); all components improved, although higher EFV levels were associated with slightly lower responses. Overall symptom scores did not change, while EFV-associated CNS symptoms increased (p = .01). Median change of bad dream sleep scores and anxiety increased from the baseline while global depression score decreased. CONCLUSIONS: In participants who continued EFV-based regimens, neuropsychological performance improvement from baseline was maintained over 3 years. EFV-based treatment was generally well tolerated, but small increases from baseline in EFV-associated symptoms, bad dreams, and anxiety were detected.
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