Baseline predictors of efavirenz-containing antiretroviral regimen adverse experiences

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We aimed to identify modifiable, routinely available patient characteristics associated with adverse experiences potentially attributable to efavirenz-based regimens in patients in Botswana.


HIV-infected treatment naïve individuals starting a standard antiretroviral regimen including two nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors and efavirenz in Botswana were enrolled in a prospective cohort. Adverse experiences were measured at 1 and 6 months using the efavirenz checklist, a 35-item instrument developed by the AIDS Clinical Trials Group.


We enrolled 232 patients from 11 March 2010 to 17 March 2011. One hundred ninety-six were included in the month 1 analyses. Of the 196 included in the month 1 analyses, 157 (80%) completed the 6-month follow-up. Median efavirenz checklist score was 6 (interquartile range (IQR): 2–15) at month 1 and 1 (IQR: 0–5) at month 6. The median change in efavirenz checklist score from month 1–6 was −4 (IQR: −11 to −1), representing an improvement. Depressive symptoms, low CD4 count and less alcohol use were associated with improvement in adverse experiences over time. Low weight was associated with increased extent of adverse experiences at month 1 and 6. There was no confounding or effect modification.


Clinicians may want to consider more intensive and tailored adverse experience education and management in patients based on depressive symptoms, CD4 count, and weight. Further assessment of the mechanism of the effect of alcohol use on adverse experiences, including analysis of CYP2B6 genotype and plasma efavirenz concentrations, is warranted. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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