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February 12, 2007

Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy
A randomized placebo-controlled trial

February 13, 2007 issue
68 (7) 515-521

Abstract

Objective: To determine the effect of smoked cannabis on the neuropathic pain of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy and an experimental pain model.
Methods: Prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial conducted in the inpatient General Clinical Research Center between May 2003 and May 2005 involving adults with painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. Patients were randomly assigned to smoke either cannabis (3.56% tetrahydrocannabinol) or identical placebo cigarettes with the cannabinoids extracted three times daily for 5 days. Primary outcome measures included ratings of chronic pain and the percentage achieving >30% reduction in pain intensity. Acute analgesic and anti-hyperalgesic effects of smoked cannabis were assessed using a cutaneous heat stimulation procedure and the heat/capsaicin sensitization model.
Results: Fifty patients completed the entire trial. Smoked cannabis reduced daily pain by 34% (median reduction; IQR = −71, −16) vs 17% (IQR = −29, 8) with placebo (p = 0.03). Greater than 30% reduction in pain was reported by 52% in the cannabis group and by 24% in the placebo group (p = 0.04). The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72% vs 15% with placebo (p < 0.001). Cannabis reduced experimentally induced hyperalgesia to both brush and von Frey hair stimuli (p ≤ 0.05) but appeared to have little effect on the painfulness of noxious heat stimulation. No serious adverse events were reported.
Conclusion: Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.

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Published In

Neurology®
Volume 68Number 7February 13, 2007
Pages: 515-521
PubMed: 17296917

Publication History

Published online: February 12, 2007
Published in print: February 13, 2007

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Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

D. I. Abrams, MD
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
C. A. Jay, MD
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
S. B. Shade, MPH
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
H. Vizoso, RN
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
H. Reda, BA
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
S. Press, BS
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
M. E. Kelly, MPH
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
M. C. Rowbotham, MD
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.
K. L. Petersen, MD
From the Community Consortium, Positive Health Program (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.), Hematology-Oncology (D.I.A., M.E.K.), and Neurology (C.A.J.), Divisions at San Francisco General Hospital; and Departments of Medicine (D.I.A., S.B.S., H.V., M.E.K.) and Neurology (C.A.J., H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), and the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center (H.R., S.P., M.C.R., K.L.P.), University of California San Francisco.

Notes

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Donald I. Abrams, San Francisco General Hospital, Ward 84, 995 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110; e-mail: [email protected]

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