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P128: Describing variability in treatment of THC hyperemesis in the emergency department: a health records review

  • J. Teefy (a1), J. Blom (a1), K. Woolfrey (a1), M. Riggan (a1) and J. Yan (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a new and poorly understood phenomenon with a subset of patients presenting to emergency departments (ED) for symptomatic control of their refractory nausea and vomiting. Curently, there is a lack of agreement and considerable practice variability on initial treatment modalities for CHS. The objective of this study was to describe the treatment modalities for patients presenting to ED with cannabis-related sequelae. Methods: This was a health records review of patients ≥18 years presenting to one of two tertiary care EDs (annual census: 150,000) with a discharge diagnosis including cannabis use with one of abdominal pain or nausea/vomiting using ICD-10 codes. Trained research personnel collected data from medical records including demographics, clinical history, results of investigations, and utilization of treatment options within the ED. Descriptive statistics are presented where appropriate. Results: From April 2014 to June 2016, 203 unique ED patients had a discharge diagnosis including cannabis use with abdominal pain or nausea/vomiting. Sixty-nine (33.4%) received any treatment during their visit with 28 (40.6%) receiving IV fluids, of which 24 (85.7%) received normal saline. Anti-emetics were used in 21 (30.4%) patients with ondansetron being the first-line agent in 11 (52.4%) patients followed by dimenhydrinate in 6 (28.6%) and haloperidol in 2 (9.5%) cases. Six patients required two doses of anti-emetics, favouring ondansetron in 3 cases followed by haloperidol, dimenhydrinate, and metoclopramide each used once. Thirteen (19%) patients required analgesia, with the first-line preference being non-opioid medications in 11 versus opioids in 2 cases. Seven patients required multiple modes of analgesia, favouring opioid medications in 4 patients. Twenty-eight (40.6%) patients required anxiolytics with lorazepam being used primarily in 16 (57.1%) patients followed by lorazepam/haloperidol in 5 (17.9%) cases. Conclusion: This ED-based study demonstrates variability of practice patterns for symptomatic treatment of cannabis related ED presentations. Despite knowledge of haloperidol being useful in patients with suspected CHS, physicians opted for ondansetron as first line anti-emetics. Future research should focus on studying various treatment modalities of patients with suspected CHS in the ED to optimize symptomatic treatment.

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