“CANNABIS FOR MEDICINAL USE IN PATIENTS WITH RARE DISEASES”
- At: PPR 2022 (2022)
- Type: Poster
- By: PAROVINCAKA, Jekaterina (University Of Malta)
- Co-author(s): Jekaterina Parovincaka, Doctorate Student, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Malta
Janis Vella Szijj, Senior Lecturer
Anthony Serracino Inglott, Professor
Background information: Rare diseases (RDs) are severe, progressive, and usually chronically debilitating. About 4%–6% of the world population is affected by a rare disease. Despite the improvement in diagnostic procedures and advancements in research and development, RD patients are facing unmet medical needs. Medicinal Cannabis (MC) is used for the management of symptoms such as pain, spasticity, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and anxiety which may be experienced by RD patients.
Purpose: To identify the potential use of MC in RDs and issues related to its use.
Method: Two questionnaires were developed for: (1) RD patients and (2) healthcare professionals (HCP). Questionnaires contained questions related to the treatment of RD patients and issues related to the treatment and use of medicinal cannabis. Questionnaires were validated and disseminated physically and online.
Results: Respondents of the questionnaire for HCP (n=101) were mostly pharmacists (n=40), general practice doctors (n=17) and occupational therapists (n=13), with more than 11 years of practice (n=46). HCP encounters 2-4 RD patients a year on average. Symptoms experienced by RD patients were pain (n=51), mainly chronic neuropathic pain n=38), stress and anxiety (n=34), and muscle spasticity (n=33).
Fifty-nine HPC agreed to reply to questions related to MC. Twenty-six of 59 HCP used MC in their practice. Forty-eight out of 59 HCPs consider it to be effective for pain relief, 38 for stress or anxiety, and for muscle spasticity. Thirty-six out of 59 HCP willing to use of MC in their practice. Regarding the side-effects of MC, confusion (n=30) and addiction (n=29) are reported to be of the most concern.
The majority of patients with RDs (n=38) were 41-50 years old (n=11) and reported stress and anxiety (n=20), pain (n=20), and muscle spasticity (n=10) as commonly experienced symptoms. Seven reported experiencing side effects associated with the use of conventional medications.
20 would consider MC use to relieve symptoms of their disease, though two respondents have been prescribed MC by an HCP.
Confusion possibly associated with MC use was a side-effect reported of the most concern (n=8). Eighteen patients are not concerned about MC side effects.
Conclusion: MC can be effective in relieving pain, anxiety, and muscle spasticity possibly experienced by RD patients. HCP and RD patients consider that MC can be used in the management of RD symptoms.
Keywords: medicinal cannabis, rare diseases, CBD, THC, orphan diseases
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