[Dronabinol in geriatric pain and palliative care patients : A retrospective evaluation of statutory-health-insurance-covered outpatient medical treatment]
Geriatric patients often suffer from a long history of pain and have a limited life expectancy. Cannabinoid receptor agonists like dronabinol may be an effective, low-risk treatment option for geriatric patients with chronic pain.
The effectiveness and side effects of dronabinol therapy in geriatric patients are analyzed. The effects of the approval requirement are presented.
In our retrospective monocentric cohort study, the study population comprised all geriatric patients over the age of 80 years who were treated in our office since the cannabis law came into effect on 10 March 2017 until 17 July 2018 (evaluation date). Geriatric, nonpalliative pain patients (group A) and geriatric palliative patients (group B) were investigated. The basis of the evaluation was a questionnaire sheet that we use in our office with details of dosages, pain intensity, treatment effects and side effects from dronabinol therapy.
By using dronabinol, 21 of the 40 geriatric patients (52.5%) achieved pain relief of more than 30%, 10% of the patients of more than 50%. On average, about four symptoms or side effects related to previous treatment were positively influenced. 26% of patients reported side effects. The rejection rates on the part of the health insurances were 38.7% (group A) and 10.3% (group B).
This study is one of the few analyses of the use of Dronabinol in geriatric patients. We show that cannabis-based drugs (in this case dronabinol) are an effective, low-risk treatment option that should be considered early in therapy. Regarding the indication spectrum, further clinical studies and an approval-free test phase are necessary.
PMID: 31473816 DOI: 10.1007/s00482-019-00408-1