Navigation Links
Marijuana rivals mainstream drugs for HIV/AIDS symptoms
Date:5/29/2009

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (May 29, 2009) Those in the United States living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to use marijuana than those in Kenya, South Africa or Puerto Rica to alleviate their symptoms, according to a new study published in Clinical Nursing Research, published by SAGE. Those who did use marijuana rate it as effective as prescribed or over the counter (OTC) medicines for the majority of common symptoms, once again raising the issue that therapeutic marijuana use merits further study and consideration among policy makers.

A significant percentage of those with HIV/AIDS use marijuana as a symptom management approach for anxiety, depression, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy. Members of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) International HIV/AIDS Nursing Research Network examined symptom management and quality of life experiences among those with HIV/AIDS in the US, Africa, and Puerto Rico, to gain a fuller picture of marijuana's effectiveness and use in this population.

With data from a longitudinal, multi-country, multi-site, randomised control clinical trial, the researchers used four different evaluation tools to survey demographics, self-care management strategies for six common symptoms experienced by those living with HIV/AIDS, quality of life instrument and reasons for non-adherence to medications.

Either marijuana use for symptom management is vastly higher in the US, or participants elsewhere chose not to disclose that they use it: nine tenths of study participants who said they used marijuana live in the US. No African participants said they used it, and the remaining ten percent were from Puerto Rico.

The researchers found no differences between marijuana users and nonusers in age, race, and education level, income adequacy, having an AIDS diagnosis, taking ARV medications, or years on ARV medications. But the two groups did differ in that marijuana users had been HIV positive longer, and were more likely to have other medical conditions. Transgender participants were also more likely to use marijuana.

Participants using marijuana as a management strategy were spread fairly consistent across all six symptoms, ranging from a low of 20% for fatigue to a high of 27% for nausea. Prescribed medications were used by 45% of those with fatigue, ranging down to almost 18% of those with neuropathy.

The findings contained nuances when comparing marijuana to other medications. Those who used marijuana rated their anxiety significantly lower than those who did not, and women who used marijuana had more intense nausea symptoms. For those who use both marijuana and medications for symptom management, antidepressants were considered more effective than marijuana for anxiety and depression, but marijuana was rated more highly than anti-anxiety medications. Immodium was better for diarrhoea than marijuana, as were prescribed medications for fatigue. However, marijuana was perceived to be more effective than either prescribed or OTC medications for nausea and neuropathy. However, the differenced in perceived efficacy in all these results were slight.

As found in previous studies, those who used marijuana were less likely to comply with their regime of ARV medications. But perhaps counter-intuitively of the many reasons given for skipping pills, 'forgetfulness' was no different in this group than among those who did not use marijuana. Marijuana use is known to contribute to patients' lack of compliance with ARV drugs, however those who use marijuana to target a particular symptom are actually more likely to stick closely to their ARV regimen too. The researchers point out that of those who used marijuana for their symptoms, it is not known whether they also used the drug for recreation. Patterns of how marijuana use interferes with patients' adherence to medication regimens, along with other drugs, warrant further study.

The 775 participants were recruited from Kenya, South Africa, two sites in Puerto Rico, and ten sites in the United States. They had on average been diagnosed for a decade - the majority (70%) were taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medications and more than half had other medical conditions alongside HIV/AIDS. It is hard to pinpoint the marijuana use targeted to alleviate symptoms of those other illnesses as distinct from those relating solely to HIV/AIDS.

Data suggest that marijuana is a trigger among those susceptible to psychosis, and is also associated with the risk of suicidal thoughts. However it is not linked to an increased risk of lung cancer (over and above risks associated with smoking it along with tobacco).

The question of the use of marijuana for symptom management when legal drugs are available remains a practice and policy issue.

"Given that marijuana may have other pleasant side effects and may be less costly than prescribed or OTC drugs, is there a reason to make it available?" asks study leader Inge Corless. "These are the political ramifications of our findings. Our data indicate that the use of marijuana merits further inquiry."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mithu Mukherjee
mithu.mukherjee@sagepub.co.uk
44-020-732-42223
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Marijuana Is Option to Unpleasant Meds, Teens Say
2. Estrogen May Combat Marijuanas Effect on Cognition
3. N. California Researchers Testing Whether Marijuana Chemical Can Slow Cancer Growth, With Funding by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)
4. Active Ingredient in Marijuana Kills Brain Cancer Cells
5. Marijuana Linked to Aggressive Testicular Cancer
6. Marijuana use linked to increased risk of testicular cancer
7. Heavy marijuana use may damage developing brain in teens, young adults
8. Children Who Have Frequent Family Dinners Less Likely to Use Marijuana, Tobacco, and Drink Alcohol
9. College freshmen: pain killers and stimulants less risky than cocaine; more risky than marijuana
10. Medicinal Marijuana Eases Neuropathic Pain in HIV
11. Schizophrenia linked to dysfunction in molecular brain pathway activated by marijuana
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... TransactRx announces the release ... of medical service claims by Pharmacy Benefit Managers that were submitted by Retail ... The TransactRx Cross Benefit Clearinghouse receives standard professional medical claims submitted from the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... , ... America Walks , a national advocacy organization that promotes walking ... of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health , has been awarded a Walking ... from around the country to participate in a four-month training program designed to strengthen ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... health insurance, has seen a significant spike in their clients' employee participation for ... annual biometric health screening by implementing a high-deductible health plan with outcome-based deductible ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... HealthPostures , a national ... leading engineers at the American Society of Safety Engineers Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. ... , Engineers, speakers and exhibitors from more than 40 countries are scheduled to ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Sterling Global Products is launching a Kickstarter campaign focused on ... dispenser. The campaign kick-off video is located via this link https://youtu.be/WsO4qz2odco . The ... is to raise $1,000 per day for a total of $25,000. The funds will ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 ... médica para ayudar a los médicos a compartir sus ... pacientes a escala mundial. Profesionales médicos de Europa, África, ... se han apuntado a la aplicación, que combina la ... un entorno totalmente seguro. Educación   ...
(Date:5/24/2016)...   , Study met ... and superiority in , Excellent plus ... of the ascending colon   , ... B.V. today announced new positive data from the phase III MORA ... standard 2 litre PEG with ascorbate. The study met both primary ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 ARANZ ... for the healthcare sector, has been named the Coretex Hi-Tech ... Awards 2016. Dr Bruce Davey , CEO ... our team.  It,s really good to be recognised for the ... Our products are used in 35 countries around the world ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: