Does Stopping Cannabis Improve Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cannabis use has been linked to hyperemesis. However, a recent cross-sectional study (T Venkatesan et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 1082-90) that stopping cannabis rarely results in improvement in cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS).

This study enrolled 140 patients who had CVS with a mean age of 37 years, all seen at a specialized clinic; 41% were current cannabis users and were classified as regular users (≥4/wk, n=30) or occasional users (<4/wk, n=26).

Key findings:

  • Only 1 of 56 (2%) reported that cannabis abstinence (for a month) resolved their CVS symptoms and 1 of 56 (2%) noted improvement with cannabis abstinence.
  • 27 of 56 (56%) reported that cannabis abstinence worsened their CVS symptoms; 19 (40%) reported no change with cannabis abstinence
  • Only 1 patient taking cannabis met Rome IV criteria for cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This patient subsequently resumed cannabis with a higher proportion of CBD (less THC) without recurrence of CVS symptoms.  This provides some support to the idea that THC in cannabis is responsible for CHS.

My take: (borrowed from authors) “If a patient with CVS and chronic regular cannabis use is refractory to standard therapy, we recommend a period of abstinence of at least 6 months or a duration of time that exceeds at least 3 consecutive cycles.”

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Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition

 

Most Popular Posts of 2019

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Wishing friends, family and colleagues a healthy and happy New Year.

Morning in Sandy Springs, GA

 

Aprepitant for CVS

Last year at NASPGHAN meeting (NASPGHAN Highlights and Tweets), there was data presented on aprepitant for cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS).  This came up at a recent hospital PNT meeting as well.

  • Aprepitant (Emend) is an anti-emetic that works by blocking the NK1 receptor.
  • It has FDA approval for prevention of nausea and vomiting in moderate and highly emetogenic chemotherapy (adults and pediatrics) and prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting (adult only).

Supporting Data for use of Aprepitant

An abstract published in 2006 reported on the use of aprepitant in 11 children (3-16 years)2.   Patients were refractory to/had poor response to pizotifen (not available in US – serotonin and histamine antagonist), propranol, and ondansetron.  Aprepitant was dosed at 80 mg/m2 up to twice weekly in combination with ondansetron.  Nine out of 11 patients had reduction in cycle frequency, duration of vomiting episodes and intensity of vomiting.  Three patients achieved complete cycle abolishment.

Cristoferi et al retrospectively reviewed 41 patients (age range 4-16.5 years, median 8 years) treated acutely or prophylactically with aprepitant.3  The primary outcome was decrease in frequency and intensity of CVS episodes.  The follow up period was 18-60 months.  The majority of patients failed cyproheptadine/pizotiphen, ondansetron, and amitriptyline as prophylactic medications.

Dosing regimens utilized in Cristoferi paper:

Prophylactic regimen (oral):

  • < 40 kg, 40 mg twice/week = $220/week (average wholesale price)
  • >40 kg to < 60 kg, 80 mg twice/week = $408/week
  • > 60 kg, 125 mg twice/week = $612/week

Acute regimen (oral):

  • >20 kg, 125 mg x 1 followed by 80 mg on day 2 and day 3 = $714
  • 15-<20 kg, 80 mg x 3 days = $612
  • < 15 kg, 80 mg x 1 followed by 40 mg on day 2 and day 3 = $424

Response rates:

  • With the prophylactic regimen, the authors reported a complete response in 3/16 (19%) and a partial response 10/16 (62%) [partial response was considered if there was ≥50% decrease in CVS episode frequency and intensity].
  • With the acute regimen, the authors reported 19/25 (76%) with a complete response and 3/25 (12%) with a partial response.

My take: Aprepitant appears promising as an agent for children who fail first-line therapies like periactin, tricyclic antidepressants, and ondansetron.

References

  1. Bhandari S and Venkatesan T.  Novel treatments for cyclic vomiting syndrome:  beyond ondansetron and amitriptyline.  Curr Treat Options Gastro 2016;14:495-506.
  2. Russell RK, et al. NK1 receptor antagonism ameliorates nausea and emesis in typical and atypical variants of treatment refractory cyclical vomiting syndrome.  J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2006;42:E13.
  3. Cristoferi F, et al. Efficacy of the neurokin-1 receptor antagonist aprepitant in children with cyclical vomiting syndrome.  Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014;40:309-17.

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Most Popular Posts 2011-2018

Since this blog’s inception, there are now more than 2500 posts; these are the most popular (most views):

Most of these posts are referenced in more recent posts on the same or similar subjects.

Near Banff

 

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These five posts were the most popular (most views) in the past year:

This is a bike path from Canmore to Banff. I had a chance to ride an electric bike which was a lot of fun.

#NASPGHAN18 Highlights and Tweets (part 1)

I did not make it to this year’s meeting but did get a chance to catch up on a lot information via the PG 2018 Syllabus and based on information posted online.

Here are a couple of highlights for me:

Slides from postgraduate course on CVS from Dr. Katja Kovacic

The slide from Dr. Lightdale (pg 22 in Syllabus) below suggests it is OK for scope if platelets >20K and OK for biopsies if platelets >50K. It is worth noting that some adult data indicate that even lower biospy thresholds are reasonable for biopsies (Post: Lower Endoscopic Thresholds for Thrombocytopenia). As always, one needs to consider carefully the risks compared with the benefits.

From Postgraduate Course

 

 

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Costs/Yield of Diagnosing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

A recent retrospective study (CJ Lucia-Casadonte et al. JPGN 2018; 67: 13-17) examined the costs and yield of testing for Cyclic Vomiting Sydrome (CVS).

As a bonus –this is a study with CME available (& ABP MOC): NASPGHAN-JPGN CME The full text can be obtained at CME website.

This study looked at 503 charts from a single center using ICD-9 coding to identify patients. In this group, 165 (33%) had a diagnosis of CVS with 135 of this group (82%) meeting NASPGHAN diagnostic criteria with a mean age of 7.7 years.

Key findings:

  • 6 (4%) had a change in management based on CVS evaluation
  • The mean cost for screening was $6125.02 per patient
  • Atypical symptoms included bilious emesis in 9 (7%), abdominal pain in 67 (50%), attacks precipitated by fasting 1 (0.7%), and neurologic abnormalities in 3 (2%).
  • Brain MRI was performed in 68 patients and 10 were considered abnormal; though, only 1 (0.7%) had a change in management related to increased intracranial pressure (this patient had hx/o hydrocephalus). Other findings included Chiari I malformation, cerebral cyst, macrocephaly, and abnormal myelination pattern.
  • Other underlying diagnosis: UPJ obstruction (n=1), unspecified metabolic condition with carnitine deficiency (n=1), and eosinophilic esophagitis.
  • Given the costs involved, the authors reiterate NASPGHAN recommendations to avoid a ‘shotgun’ approach and note that it has previously been shown that “the most cost effective therapy in the management of CVS to be UGI with small bowel follow through (SBFT) with empiric treatment.”  Additional evaluation would be indicated for those with red flags and/or progressive or a changing pattern of vomiting episodes.
  • The authors indicate that endoscopy was the most costly evaluation tool at their institution ($11,500) and only used in 36 patients and was considered to have a low yield.

My take: This study underscores the low yield and expense involved in the evaluation of pediatric CVS; yet, it remains difficult to balance this with the concern of overlooking some anatomic and metabolic problems which can benefit from a timely diagnosis.

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Gibbs Gardens 2018

 

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Shem Creek, SC

Shem Creek, SC

Misdirection: False-postive Urine Cannaboid Screen due to Pantoprazole

First of all, this post is not a joke for April 1st. But if you have a good story to tell, please feel free to comment -I’ll share a story at the bottom of this post.

A case report (Felton D et al. Pediatrics 2015; 135: 2014-16) makes a few useful points regarding testing for cannaboids in a patient admitted for cyclic vomiting syndrome.

  1. Intravenous pantoprazole could lead to a false-positive urine cannaboid screen.
  2. Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome should be included in the differential diagnosis for cyclic vomiting. (see previous blog: Think Like a Doctor -Another Reason for Cyclic Vomiting …)
  3. Don’t order every test on the differential diagnosis (my point -not the authors).

With regard to the final point, this particular case report describes a highly-impaired 13 year old with previous diagnoses of intrauterine stroke, global developmental delays, and seizures; she was nonverbal and nonambulatory.  Therefore, despite a positive urine screen, it is not surprising that the confirmatory testing for cannabis via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was negative.

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On a side note, several years ago we had a little fun in the spirit of April 1st.  One of our neighbors had been complaining for years that they had not received ‘yard of the month’ but had lived in the neighborhood for more than 16 years. So, one year when they were out of town, we managed to borrow the ‘yard of the month’ sign, placed it in their yard, and snapped a picture.  With the collusion of a different neighbor who sends out the monthly announcement, our neighbors were informed of the recognition of their yard. It was definitely a good laugh.  At the same time, I’m a little paranoid about potential payback.

 

 

Understanding Idiopathic Nausea

A recent article describes a retrospective chart review of 45 children with chronic nausea and compares them to 49 children with chronic abdominal pain (J Pediatr 2014; 164: 1104-09).

Key findings:

  • While onset of symptoms was similar, the chronic nausea cohort presented at a median age of 15 years compared with 12 years for the pain cohort.
  • Comorbid conditions like anxiety, dizziness and fatigue were common in chronic nausea cohort.
  • Family history of migraines was note in 71% of nausea cohort compared with 22% in pain cohort
  • Extensive laboratory and imaging was much more frequent in nausea cohort.  With nausea cohort, 78% had abdominal ultrasound, 60% an upper GI, 58% brain imaging with either a CT scan or MRI, 38% gastric emptying, 31% abdominal CT or MRI, and 24% had HIDA.
  • Almost all endoscopies were normal (98% of chronic nausea group and 100% of pain cohort)
  • For nausea cohort treatment, tricyclic antidepressants showed a good response (=at least 50% symptom improvement) in 44% with a mean maximal dose of 50 mg. In contrast, with proton pump inhibitors, only 22% had some improvement (=at least 25% symptom improvement).  Similarly, ondansetron showed some improvement in 50% –though none had a “good response.”
  • Twelve patients (27%) of the nausea cohort met diagnostic criteria for cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) (with interepisode nausea) and another nine (20%) developed chronic nausea after ‘outgrowing’ CVS.
  • Postural (orthostatic) tachycardia syndrome (POTS) was noted in 16 of 45 in the nausea cohort based on an orthostatic screen (heart rate ≥30 beats/min during positional changes from 10 minutes in supine position to standing.

As the authors note, their study, conducted between 2006-2012, had numerous limitations, particularly the relative small size and retrospective nature.  In addition, the physician expertise in nausea/vomiting at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin predisposes to a selection bias.

Take-home message: Nausea can be a severe symptom but is often difficult to manage. Extensive workup has a low yield in absence of other complaints or physical exam findings.

An AGA technical review on nausea and vomiting was published in 2001: GASTROENTEROLOGY 2001;120:263–286 

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.