Adverse effects of ARV might be minimized by gene testing technique
ARV helps people living with HIV to maintain their normal life. It is estimated that there are around 17 million people worldwide are taking antiretroviral medications. However, the adverse effects continue to be one of the main problems and result in poor adherence and drug resistance development.
Efavirenz is considered one of the most cost effective medications. More than 8 million around the world are on the drug regimen. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends efavirenz as a firstline treatment against HIV.
But a challenge is that efavirenz is a drug with the harshest side effects such as depression, nightmares, headaches and suicidal tendencies.
According to a study, people with severe adverse effects to the drug have a particular gene CYP2B6 variant which is responsible for accumulation of toxic levels of the medication in the blood. The scientists were able to develop a dosing algorithm. This algorithm is now being developed into a test kit - GeneDose-EFV test kit. Using the kit, it is now possible to adjust the drug dose prescribed to the patient to avoid the development of adverse effects.