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AIDS Behav. 2011 Nov;15(8):1803-18. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-9939-5.

A systematic review of the psychiatric side-effects of efavirenz.

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Auckland City Hospital, Liaison Psychiatry, New Zealand.


Concerns regarding the use of efavirenz in patients with a history of mental illness may predispose clinicians to not offer this agent to psychiatrically ill populations in spite of the convenience of once daily dosing, which can result in improved adherence in these at-risk populations. This systematic review examines the current data regarding the neuropsychiatric effects of efavirenz, and also attempts to provide guidance to clinicians using efavirenz to treat patients with mental illness. The review identified high rates of neuropsychiatric side effects including vivid dreams, insomnia and mood changes in approximately 50% of patients who initiate efavirenz. The effects begin quickly, commonly peak in the first 2 weeks, and are generally mild and transient in nature. Isolated case reports and uncontrolled data suggest higher rates of severe side effects; however, there is no clear evidence of a broadly increased risk of suicide or dangerous behavior for patients taking efavirenz as part of their antiretroviral regimen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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