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Synthetic marijuana reduces agitation in patients with Alzheimers

San Antonio, Texas and Long Branch, N.J. (November 14, 2003) Results from a Phase II, multi-center study found dronabinol, a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana, reduces agitation in patients with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, the research concluded that reduced agitation may contribute to the relief of caregiver burden associated with the condition. The findings were presented at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists' 34th annual meeting.

"Our results show dronabinol is an effective treatment for behavioral agitation in patients with Alzheimer's and may ultimately help reduce the stress often experienced by caregivers," said geriatrician Joel S. Ross, M.D. a member of the teaching faculty at Monmouth Medical Center and the lead investigator in the study. "While difficult for the patient, the effects of agitation can greatly impact the emotional and physical health of family members and caregivers. By reducing patients' agitation, caregivers are able to focus more time and energy on their patients' overall wellbeing."

Dronabinol, marketed as Marinol, is synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC). Delta-9-THC also is a naturally occurring component of Cannabis sativa L (marijuana). Dronabinol has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of anorexia in patients with HIV/AIDS and for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Recent clinical tests also have examined dronabinol's potential to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis.1

Agitation is the most common behavioral management problem in patients with Alzheimer's and affects an estimated 75 percent of people with the disease. It may lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from physical and/or verbal abusive postures, physically non-aggressive conduct including pacing and restlessness, as well as verbally disturbed behaviors such as screaming and repetitive requests for att
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14-Nov-2003


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