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Dronabinol Stimulates Appetite and Causes Weight Gain in HIV Patients

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Plasse T, Conant M, Gorter R, Shepard KV


OBJECTIVE: To test the effect of dronabinol (delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol) on appetite and weight in symptomatic HIV patients (pts). METHODS: Forty pts with symptomatic HIV infection who were actively losing weight were entered into this dose ranging study of dronabinol (Marinol, Roxane Laboratories, Columbus OH). After a one week baseline period, pts were treated for 4 weeks; to be evaluable for efficacy, patients had to receive at least 3 weeks' medication. Pts were weighed and completed a questionnaire on physical and psychological symptoms weekly; they completed 100mm visual analog scales for hunger before each meal. Of 40 pts entered, 10 withdrew due to suspected adverse effects of study medication and 7 due to other causes. RESULTS: TABULAR DATA, SEE ABSTRACT VOLUME. CONCLUSIONS: In this open pilot study, dronabinol 2.5 mg bid was well tolerated and caused a significant increase in appetite, improvement of symptoms and a strong trend toward weight gain.

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