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Ann Pharmacother. 2017 Jun;51(6):457-464. doi: 10.1177/1060028017696105. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Effect of Valerian in Preventing Neuropsychiatric Adverse Effects of Efavirenz in HIV-Positive Patients: A Pilot Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.

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1 Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Several neuropsychiatric adverse effects of efavirenz are known. Preventing these adverse effects may improve patients' adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of valerian in preventing neuropsychiatric adverse effects of efavirenz in HIV-positive patients.


In this pilot randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, clinical trial, 51 HIV-positive patients who were receiving efavirenz were recruited into the valerian (n = 25) or placebo (n = 26) group. Patients received valerian (530 mg) or placebo nightly 1 hour before sleep for 4 weeks. The neuropsychiatric status (sleep, anxiety, depression, suicidal thought, and psychosis) of patients was assessed at baseline and week 4 using validated questionnaires.


Sleep ( P ≤ 0.001) and anxiety ( P = 0.001) significantly improved in the valerian group compared with the placebo group. Dizziness was the most common complaint of patients in first days of the intervention. In the valerian and placebo groups, 92% and 84.6% of patients experienced dizziness, respectively ( P = 0.35). Nausea was the second common adverse effect that 84% and 76.9% of patients in the valerian and placebo groups experienced ( P = 0.39).


In the first 4 weeks of ART including efavirenz, valerian significantly improved sleep and anxiety in HIV-positive patients. Valerian may be considered as a potential option in preventing neuropsychiatric adverse effects of efavirenz in HIV-positive patients.


efavirenz; neuropsychiatric adverse effects; valerian

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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