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Schmerz. 2004 Jun;18(3):197-202.

[Cannabinoids in the treatment of the cachexia-anorexia syndrome in palliative care patients].

[Article in German]

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Zentrum für Palliativmedizin, Malteser-Krankenhaus Bonn, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.


Loss of appetite and cachexia are frequent symptoms in palliative care patients. However, therapeutic regimens often prove ineffective, and the quality of life of many patients is significantly impaired by these symptoms. Causes and pathophysiology of anorexia and cachexia are complex and must be identified and treated. Symptomatic pharmacological therapy aims at metabolic, neuroendocrinological and catabolic changes. Prokinetic drugs, corticosteroids and gestagenes are used for symptomatic therapy. Recently, the use of cannabinoids for treatment of loss of appetite and cachexia has become the focus of interest. In cancer patients, cannabinoids proved more effective than placebo but less than gestagenes. Compared to placebo, higher efficacy of cannabinoids could be demonstrated in patients with AIDS as well as in patients with Morbus Alzheimer. However, side effects, such as dizziness, tiredness and daze led to discontinuation of the cannabinoid therapy in some patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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