icon-folder.gif   Conference Reports for NATAP  
  11th Annual Retrocirus Conference
(CROI-Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections)
San Francisco
Feb 8-11, 2004
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Marijuana Relieves HIV Neuropathy in Preliminary Trial
  SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) Feb 12 - Smoking marijuana has an analgesic effect in HIV-related neuropathy, according to the results of an open-label pilot study.
Polyneuropathy poses a significant problem for many patients with HIV infection, and pre-clinical study findings suggest that cannabinoids may be effective for treating neuropathic pain, Dr. Cheryl Jay of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues reported this week at the 11th Annual Retrovirus Conference.
In the trial, 16 HIV-infected patients received three marijuana cigarettes each day for 7 days. The cigarettes were dispensed by the pharmacy at San Francisco General Hospital. All of the patients reported previous experience smoking marijuana but had not done so for 30 days prior to the trial.
Most of the subjects were men (n=14), and the median age was 43 years. Patients had had neuropathy for an average of 6 years, which was attributed to HIV infection alone (three patients), nucleoside therapy (eight patients) or both HIV and nucleoside therapy (five patients).
Reductions in pain were assessed using a 0 to 100 visual analogue scale. "Our endpoint was a 30% reduction in average daily pain, which is a pretty typical standard used in pain studies, and is considered a clinically meaningful amount of pain relief," Dr. Jay told Reuters Health.
Mean pain scores dropped from 47/100 at baseline to 20/100 at the end of the 7-day period. Twelve out of the 16 patients reached the study endpoint, Dr. Jay said.
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial has now been initiated, and 20 out of 50 subjects have been enrolled so far, Dr. Jay said.