Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are the backbone of effective anti-retroviral therapy in the developing world. Efavirenz is the current NNRTI of choice due to reports of higher incidence of serious adverse events with nevirapine. Majority of patients with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in India are still on nevirapine based therapy. The aim of the study was to evaluate the need of shifting these patients to efavirenz based therapy. A cross-sectional study was conducted on adult patients, who were on NNRTI based regimen for more than one year with good adherence. The patients were divided into efavirenz or nevirapine groups based on the treatments they were receiving at the time of study. The different arms were compared based on their clinical and laboratory profile, adverse events and immunological response. A total of 244 patients were recruited. A total of 125 patients were receiving nevirapine based regimen while 119 patients were receiving efavirenz based regimen. There was no significant difference in the frequency of hematological and biochemical derangements between the two groups. There was no difference in the median highest CD4 count achieved during therapy between the two groups. Clinically observed side effects were more common in the efavirenz group. These results suggest that there isn't enough evidence to shift patients tolerating long term nevirapine based therapy to efavirenz based therapy.
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