BackgroundEfavirenz is associated with side effects involving the central nervous system. However, it remains largely unknown whether switching off EFV improves neuropsychological performance.
MethodsWe utilized data from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). Participants were categorized by their use of EFV: never on EFV (No EFV), continuously on EFV (No Switch-OFF) and on EFV and then switched off (Switch-OFF). Baseline time points were defined as visits when first neuropsychological data were available. In Analysis 1, we compared neuropsychological and Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) scores before and after EFV switch in Switch-OFF group, aligning participants at the time of switch. Analysis 2 evaluated trajectory of neuropsychological/CES-D score among the three groups.
ResultsThis analysis included 1989 HIV-seropositive participants with neuropsychological data (1675 in No EFV, 44 in No Switch-OFF, and 270 in Switch-OFF group). At baseline, participants had a median age of 37 years, median CD4 cell count 442 cells/μl, and 22.9% viral suppression rate. In Analysis 1, neuropsychological and CES-D scores did not show clinically significant changes over 2 years prior to and 4 years after switch in Switch-OFF group. In Analysis 2, trends in neuropsychological and CES-D scores in the three different groups did not show significant differences during a median of 3.2 years of follow-up.
ConclusionDiscontinuation of EFV is not associated with changes in neuropsychological performance or severity of depression in men. Furthermore, we did not observe differences among participants who were never on EFV, continuously on EFV, and on EFV and then switched off.