A Cost-Effectiveness Model for Adjunctive Smoked Cannabis in the Treatment of Chronic Neuropathic Pain

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“A recent meta-analysis affirmed the benefit of medicinal cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain, a disabling and difficult-to-treat condition. As medicinal cannabis use is becoming increasingly prevalent among Americans, an exploration of its economic feasibility is warranted. We present this cost-effectiveness analysis of adjunctive cannabis pharmacotherapy for chronic peripheral neuropathy.

A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates reproducible efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of several medical conditions, including chronic neuropathic pain. Clinical trials of oral, smoked, and vaporized cannabis and cannabinoids have all demonstrated analgesic benefit of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of this costly and disabling condition. A recent meta-analysis of individual patient data from five randomized controlled trials of inhaled cannabis demonstrated pain relief comparable to gabapentin. Treatment guidelines for neuropathic pain recommend consideration of cannabinoids as third-line agents.

As recently proposed willingness-to-pay thresholds for the United States health marketplace range from $110,000 to $300,000 per QALY, cannabis appears cost-effective when augmenting second-line treatment for painful neuropathy. Further research is warranted to explore the long-term benefit of smoked cannabis and standardization of its dosing for chronic neuropathic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30944870

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0027

“New study analyzes cost effectiveness of smoked cannabis to treat chronic neuropathic pain” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/mali-nsa012919.php

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