A review of trials investigating efavirenz-induced neuropsychiatric side effects and the implications

Razia Gaida, Ilse Truter, Christoffel Grobler, Theunis Kotze, Brian Godman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Efavirenz is part of the first-line treatment for HIV patients including those in South Africa with approximately 50% experiencing neuropsychiatric side effects. A systematic review of papers reporting neuropsychiatric side effects with efavirenz published between January 2001 and December 2014 was performed, to provide guidance. 13 articles were reviewed. Patient ages ranged between 37 to 41 years, with a high percentage males. Scales used to measure incidence and severity of side effects were varied; with disease severity or stage not reported. Patients with psychoses were excluded. Most commonly reported side effects were a reduction in sleep quality, depression, dizziness and anxiety. These were generally mild and not warranting discontinuation of efavirenz. It is difficult to directly compare the studies. Standardised methods need to be introduced and all patient groups represented including the elderly, children, patients with active symptomatic illness and more women especially among the African population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • efavirenz
  • neuropsychiatric side effects
  • pharmacovigilance
  • systematic review


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