Thursday, March 13, 2008

Double-blind controlled trial supports cannabinoid for neuropathic pain - Medical Rehabilitation News

Rehabilitation Medicine & Science

February 9, 2008

Double-blind controlled trial supports cannabinoid for neuropathic pain

Filed under: pain, pharmaceuticals — Editor @ 12:12 pm

Sativex, an extract of Cannabis sativa that delivers 2.7 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5mg of cannabidiol (CBD) per spray into the mouth, is known to act on pain receptors throughout the peripheral and central nervous system. Researchers at the University of Liverpool and several hospitals in the UK conducted a five week study of patients suffering from neuropathic pain of at least six months’ duration not related to diabetes, any identifiable nerve lesion or complex regional pain syndrome. The study was sponsored by GW Pharma, manufacturer of Sativex.

At home, patients delivered up to 48 sprays per day, and up to 8 sprays in any 3 hour period. Testing for degree allodynia (normally nonpainful stimuli perceived as painful in neuropathic syndromes) was conducted before and after the study period, as were pain scales and questionnaires. Of the 63 Sativex patients and the 62 placebo patients, most of whom had been in pain greater than five years, dynamic allodynia on exam reduced 20% in the Sativex group and 5% in the placebo group. 26% of Sativex patients reported clinically significant (30% reduction) pain improvement versus 15% of patients on placebo. Importantly, patients were allowed to continue their current regimen of pain medications during the study, both in recognition that in practice chronic pain is managed with numerous variables in the mix, and the belief that taking chronic pain patients off other medications that have known efficacy would be unethical. In regards to side effects, no psychomotor differences were noted between the Sativex and control groups, and most Sativex group side effects were gastrointestinal, not central nervous system related.

Sativex successfully treats neuropathic pain characterised by allodynia: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Pain. Volume 133, Issues 1-3, 15 December 2007, Pages 210-220

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