Homepage Round-up: Medical Marijuana and Opioids, Reducing Sugary Beverage Consumption, and more

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Homepage section. In this week’s edition of the round-up: can medical marijuana mitigate opioid use?, the top 10 medical innovations for 2020, the impact of a workplace ban on the purchase of sugary beverages, and the connection between eating disorders and diabetes outcomes.

Medical marijuana exhibits early promise in lessening opioid misuse, according to a systematic review of published studies that was presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2019 annual meeting. The analysis focused on seven studies, five of which concluded medical marijuana provided such benefits as: decreased opioid use and overdose rates, and improved quality of life and pain management. The results of the five studies that showed a 29% reduction in opioid overdoses in states with medical marijuana and a 44% to 64% reduction in opioid use among chronic pain patients. “Overall the results suggest medical marijuana may provide some benefit in mitigating opioid misuse, but the studies were not randomized controlled trials comparing marijuana to a placebo, which is what we need to determine a true benefit,” said Mario Moric, MS, lead author of the study and a biostatistician at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago in a press release about the findings. “There are other issues to consider as well, including side effects and the fact that these products often aren’t regulated.”

The Cleveland Clinic unveiled its picks for the Top 10 Medical Innovations list for 2020. The Top 10 Medical Innovations list is published each year. It is determined through expert opinions of Cleveland Clinic physicians and researchers. Close to 100 experts are interviewed and more than 150 nominations are considered. Two committees review, discuss, judge, and rank the nominations. Combined lists are then evaluated to establish the final top 10 list. Romosozumab, a dual-acting osteoporosis drug that received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in April, topped the list. The FDA’s approval of romosozumab-aqqg, marketed as Evenity, also came with a boxed warning for possible increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death.

A recent study evaluated the impact of a workplace ban on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages. According to the results, prohibiting the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in the workplace not only reduced employees’ consumption of these beverages but also significantly reduced employees’ waist circumferences. More than half of the participants (n = 124, 57.9%) were female; mean age (SD) was 41.2 (11.0) years, and mean body mass index at baseline was 29.4 (6.5) kg/m2. Participants reported a baseline daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption of 1,050 mL (35 fl oz)—compared to 540 mL (18 fl oz) at follow-up, marking a 510-mL (17-fl oz) (48.6%) decrease (P<0.001). A correlation was observed between reduced sugar-sweetened beverage intake and improved HOMA-IR (r=0.16; P=0.03). Patients randomized to the intervention had a greater mean (SD) reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages compared to those who did not receive the intervention: 762.0 (84.0) mL (25.4 [2.8] fl oz) vs. 246.0 (84.0) mL (8.2 [2.8] fl oz). Significant reductions in mean (SE) waist circumference were observed from baseline to follow-up (2.1 [2.8] cm; P<0.001).

A recent study found a correlation between binge eating and poor glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Seventy consecutive T2DM were evaluated using a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the Binge Eating Scale. Fasting blood glucose (FBG) and glycated hemoglobin (A1c) levels were used to determine glycemic control. Body mass index (BMI) and lipids were also evaluated. The study cohort was primarily female (n = 54, 77%); mean BMI was 30.6 kg/m2. Half of included patients were obese (mean BMI, 34.8 kg/m2). Just over half (51%) of patients were regular insulin user Overall, 14 (20%) patients were determined to have an eating disorder, the most prevalent of which was binge eating disorder (n = 7). Since eating disorders other than binge eating were underrepresented, the authors looked at the group as a whole. Patients with a higher BMI were more likely to have an eating disorder compared to those with a normal BMI (26% vs. 8%); eating psychopathology severity was also positively correlated with BMI. Insulin use was similar whether patients did (50%) or did not (52%) have an ED. When comparing the patient populations before considering BMI, there was an association between eating disorder status and FBG and A1c levels. However, when adding BMI into the models, eating disorder status no longer impacted glycemic control.