HIV Antiretroviral Medication Neuropenetrance and Neurocognitive Outcomes in HIV+ Adults: A Review of the Literature Examining the Central Nervous System Penetration Effectiveness Score.

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california; santa monica; pacific neurosciences; Adult; Anti-HIV Agents; Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active; Central Nervous System; Cognition; HIV Infections; Humans; Neuropsychological Tests


This literature review summarizes the existing research examining the CNS penetration effectiveness (CPE) score and neurocognitive outcomes (i.e., neuropsychological assessment and neurocognitive screening) in HIV+ individuals. Despite the effectiveness of Combined Antiretroviral Therapy (CART) in reducing mortality and morbidity in HIV and controlling viral replication, HIV often persists in the Central Nervous System (CNS), and rates of neurocognitive impairment remain higher than predicted in the post-CART era. The CPE score was developed to rank antiretroviral regimens on their ability to penetrate the CNS and potency in inhibiting the virus, and it has been examined in relation to neurocognitive functioning for over a decade. Based on the results of 23 studies, we conclude that CPE is not as strongly associated with neurocognitive outcomes as initially hypothesized, although higher CPE ARV regimens may be associated with modest, improved outcomes in global neurocognitive functioning, and to a lesser extent attention/working memory and learning/memory. Conclusions, however, are limited by the heterogeneity in study design and methods, and the lack of a more recent CPE metric update. It is recommended that future research in this area employ comprehensive, standardized neuropsychological test batteries and examine domain-level performance, and use the newer 2010 CPE metric, although an updated CPE ranking is urgently needed.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)


Behavioral Health