The effect of antiretroviral therapy with high central nervous system penetration on HIV-related cognitive impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Chronic complications are a significant concern for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) infection. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are prevalent in PLWHA. Yet, the efficacy of medications that penetrate the central nervous system (CNS) at preventing or slowing the progression of HAND remains largely unknown. The objective of this study was to determine whether high CNS penetration effectiveness (CPE) regimens improve neurocognitive test scores in PLWHA on combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Primary literature evaluating cognitive outcomes based on CPE score of cART regimens in PLWHA was assembled from PubMed/Medline and EMBASE. Both randomized controlled trials and observational studies with at least 12 weeks of follow-up were included. A meta-analysis was conducted to calculate the standardized mean difference. Eight trials including a total of 3,303 patients with 13,103 person-years of follow-up were included in the systematic review. Four trials (= 366 patients) met our inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. In the meta-analysis, HIV regimens with a high CPE score did not affect NPZ-4 or GDS scores (standardized mean difference (SMD) 0.10, 95% CI -0.19, 0.38; I= 26%). Future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to prospectively evaluate the relationship between CPE and progression of HAND.


Webb AJ, Borrelli EP, Vyas A, Taylor LE, Buchanan AL




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Mental Health
    • Neurocognitive disorders


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