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Experience With The Synthetic Cannabinoid Nabilone In Chronic Noncancer Pain

Truth Seeker

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Chronic noncancer pain includes a heterogenous group of disorders and is often refractory to treatment. Cannabis products have historically been used for chronic pain and are attracting renewed pharmaceutical interest. Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid licensed in Canada for the treatment of severe nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. We have used nabilone off-label for the treatment of chronic noncancer pain since 1999. In this article, we review our clinical experience of 20 adult patients with chronic noncancer pain who had been treated with nabilone and followed up for an average of 1.5 years. Prior to nabilone therapy, patients had used a wide range of therapies, including 11 who had used cannabis. Fifteen patients reported subjective overall improvement with nabilone, and nine reported reduced pain intensity. Beneficial effects on sleep and nausea were the main reasons for continuing use. Intolerable side effects were experienced in three patients (palpitations, urinary retention, dry mouth). Nabilone may be a useful addition to pain management and should be further evaluated in randomized controlled trials.

Source: Experience with the Synthetic Cannabinoid Nabilone in Chronic Noncancer Pain
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