Novel Drug May Reduce Risk of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders


Many patients with HIV develop neurocognitive disorders, which is incurable.

Up to half of people living with HIV (PLWH) experience HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), a neurological manifestation of HIV-1 infection. HAND appears to manifest pursuant to persistent central nervous system inflammation, anomalous macrophage activation, and increased oxidative stress.

Researchers are interested in finding therapies that are neuroprotective and have screened thousands of compounds that are commercially available. Two compounds/classes—fluconazole and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—seem to protect hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, previous screenings suggested that when given together, their actions may be synergistic.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, conducted a study of the paroxetine and fluconazole, including 45 adult PLWH experiencing HAND. Their results, published in the Journal of Neural Virology, indicate that paroxetine was able to improve some neuropsychological test measures, but fluconazole had little benefit.

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