Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology / 2008 / Article

Original Article | Open Access

Volume 22 |Article ID 725702 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2008/725702

Cecilia T Costiniuk, Edward Mills, Curtis L Cooper, "Evaluation of Oral Cannabinoid-Containing Medications for the Management of Interferon and Ribavirin-Induced Anorexia, Nausea and Weight Loss in Patients Treated for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus", Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 22, Article ID 725702, 5 pages, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1155/2008/725702

Evaluation of Oral Cannabinoid-Containing Medications for the Management of Interferon and Ribavirin-Induced Anorexia, Nausea and Weight Loss in Patients Treated for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus

Received10 Oct 2007
Accepted29 Nov 2007

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The systemic and cognitive side effects of hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy may be incapacitating, necessitating dose reductions or abandonment of therapy. Oral cannabinoid-containing medications (OCs) ameliorate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well as AIDS wasting syndrome. The efficacy of OCs in managing HCV treatment-related side effects is unknown.METHODS: All patients who initiated interferon-ribavirin therapy at The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Clinic (Ottawa, Ontario) between August 2003 and January 2007 were identified using a computerized clinical database. The baseline characteristics of OC recipients were compared with those of nonrecipients. The treatment-related side effect response to OC was assessed by χ2 analysis. The key therapeutic outcomes related to weight, interferon dose reduction and treatment outcomes were assessed by Student’s t test and χ2 analysis.RESULTS: Twenty-five of 191 patients (13%) initiated OC use. Recipients had similar characteristics to nonrecipients, aside from prior marijuana smoking history (24% versus 10%, respectively; P=0.04). The median time to OC initiation was seven weeks. The most common indications for initiation of OC were anorexia (72%) and nausea (32%). Sixty-four per cent of all patients who received OC experienced subjective improvement in symptoms. The median weight loss before OC initiation was 4.5 kg. A trend toward greater median weight loss was noted at week 4 in patients eventually initiating OC use (−1.4 kg), compared with those who did not (−1.0 kg). Weight loss stabilized one month after OC initiation (median 0.5 kg additional loss). Interferon dose reductions were rare and did not differ by OC use (8% of OC recipients versus 5% of nonrecipients). The proportions of patients completing a full course of HCV therapy and achieving a sustained virological response were greater in OC recipients.CONCLUSIONS: The present retrospective cohort analysis found that OC use is often effective in managing HCV treatment-related symptoms that contribute to weight loss, and may stabilize weight decline once initiated.

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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