Elderly (geriatric) patients often suffer from chronic pain and are sensitive to opiates and other centrally acting substances. A retrospective evaluation from a medical practice shows: Medical cannabis – in this case dronabinol – can alleviate the symptoms of those affected.
Study participants included all geriatric patients aged 80 and older who were treated in a pain medicine practice in Potsdam, Germany from the time the cannabis law came into effect in March 2017 until mid-July 2018. Group A consisted of geriatric, non-palliative pain patients, group B included geriatric palliative pain patients.
Questionnaire with information on dosages and pain intensity
The basis for the retrospective monocentric cohort study was a questionnaire with information on pain intensity, dosage, effects and side effects of dronabinol therapy. The results are encouraging: 21 out of 40 patients whose data were analyzed achieved a pain reduction of more than 30 percent. Another ten percent even reported an improvement of more than half. According to the respondents, about four symptoms or side effects of the previous therapy were positively influenced.
The authors of the study conclude from the results that cannabis-based medicines represent an effective and low-risk therapy option for the treatment of geriatric pain and palliative patients. At the same time, they call for further clinical studies – especially on the indication spectrum of the substances.
Wendelmuth C, Wirz S, Torontali M, Gastmeier A, Gastmeier K. Dronabinol bei geriatrischen Schmerz- und Palliativpatienten : Eine retrospektive Auswertung der ambulanten kassenärztlichen Therapie [Dronabinol in geriatric pain and palliative care patients : A retrospective evaluation of statutory-health-insurance-covered outpatient medical treatment]. Schmerz. 2019 Oct;33(5):384-391. German. doi: 10.1007/s00482-019-00408-1. Erratum in: Schmerz. 2019 Dec;33(6):562. PMID: 31473816.