Despite the widespread use of polypharmacy, the management of Hepatitis C virus treatment-related side-effects is often incomplete.
Many patients turn to cannabis for symptom relief.
Unfortunately, there are few data about cannabis use on treatment outcomes, leaving clinicians without the data needed to inform recommendations.
Dr Diana Sylvestre and colleagues defined the impact of cannabis use during Hepatitis C treatment.
The research team conducted a prospective observational study of standard interferon and ribavirin treatment in 71 recovering substance users.
Of these, 31% used cannabis and 69% did not.
|54% of the responders were cannabis users|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The team reported that 24% discontinued therapy early.
Overall, the team noted that 52% were end-of-treatment responders, 64% cannabis users and 47% non-users.
A total of 30% had a sustained virological response.
The researchers found that 54% of the responders were cannabis users and 18% were non-users.
The corresponding post-treatment virological relapse rate was 14% in the cannabis users and 61% in the non-users.
Overall, the team observed that 68% were adherent, of which 59% were non-users and 86% cannabis users.
Although cannabis users were no more likely than non-users to take at least 80% of the prescribed interferon or ribavirin, they were more likely to remain on Hep C treatment.
Dr Sylvestre's team concludes, “Our results suggest that modest cannabis use may offer symptomatic and virological benefit to some patients undergoing Hep C treatment by helping them maintain adherence to the challenging medication regimen.”