Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Nov;38(12):2373-84. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.135. Epub 2013 May 24.

The HIV antiretroviral drug efavirenz has LSD-like properties.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA.

Abstract

Anecdotal reports have surfaced concerning misuse of the HIV antiretroviral medication efavirenz ((4S)-6-chloro-4-(2-cyclopropylethynyl)-4-(trifluoromethyl)-2,4-dihydro-1H-3,1-benzoxazin-2-one) by HIV patients and non-infected teens who crush the pills and smoke the powder for its psychoactive effects. Molecular profiling of the receptor pharmacology of efavirenz pinpointed interactions with multiple established sites of action for other known drugs of abuse including catecholamine and indolamine transporters, and GABAA and 5-HT(2A) receptors. In rodents, interaction with the 5-HT(2A) receptor, a primary site of action of lysergic acid diethylamine (LSD), appears to dominate efavirenz's behavioral profile. Both LSD and efavirenz reduce ambulation in a novel open-field environment. Efavirenz occasions drug-lever responding in rats discriminating LSD from saline, and this effect is abolished by selective blockade of the 5-HT(2A) receptor. Similar to LSD, efavirenz induces head-twitch responses in wild-type, but not in 5-HT(2A)-knockout, mice. Despite having GABAA-potentiating effects (like benzodiazepines and barbiturates), and interactions with dopamine transporter, serotonin transporter, and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (like cocaine and methamphetamine), efavirenz fails to maintain responding in rats that self-administer cocaine, and it fails to produce a conditioned place preference. Although its molecular pharmacology is multifarious, efavirenz's prevailing behavioral effect in rodents is consistent with LSD-like activity mediated via the 5-HT(2A) receptor. This finding correlates, in part, with the subjective experiences in humans who abuse efavirenz and with specific dose-dependent adverse neuropsychiatric events, such as hallucinations and night terrors, reported by HIV patients taking it as a medication.

PMID:
23702798
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3799056
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk