Nabilone - a new drug helps treat diabetic neuropathy or nerve pain, say researchers.
For the study, researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute Researchers enrolled 60 patients with diabetic neuropathy in a 12-week placebo controlled clinical study.
At the end of the study, the patients reported less pain and an improvement in sleep and anxiety when taking nabilone as compared to the placebo.
"This is a good option to help treat nerve pain due to diabetes, with very few side effects," Dr. Cory Toth, lead researcher of the study, said.
The medication used in the study has the generic name nabilone, and is currently used in Canada to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients. This study gives doctors more evidence to support its prescription for treating neuropathy pain in diabetics.
Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid, which mimics some of the chemical compounds of cannabis, or marijuana. It is approved for use by Health Canada and the FDA.
"This study is a further demonstration of the potential medical benefits of cannabinoids in a difficult pain condition. Dr. Toth and his team have conducted a solid trial which, although small, validates our clinical experience. This study gives physicians support to consider further options in treating this devastating chronic pain disorder," Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor at the McGill University Health Centre, said.
Type 2 diabetes is exploding at epidemic rates over the world, and Canada is no exception. Recent studies show that type 2 diabetes is present in close to 10 percent of Canadian adults and growing at faster than predicted rates.