John Schetz, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, recently applied his expertise to help solve the mystery as to why efavirenz, when taken as prescribed, can cause adverse neuropsychiatric events, and why it may be attractive for recreational use. This later use is a potential public health concern because improper dosing could encourage the development of ARV-resistant HIV strains.
Dr. Schetz and colleagues hope their findings will help generate support for additional studies aimed at preventing ARV side effects and abuse. Re-engineering a highly effective ARV drug that lacks adverse neuropsychiatric side effects and abuse potential could foster patient compliance, reduce the likelihood of HIV drug resistant strains and prevent illicit use of HIV medications.
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