Prof Variava scoops national award

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Lentswe, Klerksdorp - Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex is proud of Professor Ebrahim Variava, the head of department of Internal Medicine, who recently scooped an award at the 8th National Aids Conference held in Durban.

Variava is also a chief specialist and senior lecturer at the department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Witwatersrand.

His winning presentation was on cases of patients on ARVs who presented with side effects due to one of the fixed dose combinations. 
Variava said side effects occur in one drug called Efavirenz and is not described on the leaflet en-closed with the tablet. 

“We identified 20 patients in Tshepong Hospital with side effects. A team of doctors observed a number of cases presenting with patients experiencing difficulty with balance and inability to walk properly and abnormal brain functioning without a clear cause.

“Efavirenz was linked to cause the symptoms patients were experiencing. Patients weighing less than 40 kg were closely observed and the finding was that they were receiving higher doses of Efavirenz (600mg),” Variava said.

He added that with the help of Cape Town University, they managed to test drug levels of Efavirenz. 

In conclusion, he remarked that research is an ongoing endeavour and highlights challenges faced by clinicians. He said doing research locally provides solutions to issues that may be of national and international interest. The Research is published and can be found on the National Department of Health Website and the internet.