Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital report positive results for cannabis and epilepsy. After patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), were put on a trial with cannabis-derived medication, positive results were recorded.
Doctors report positive results for cannabis and epilepsy in Epidiolex trial with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome patients
The new medicine, Epidiolex, made from cannabis, is being given to young patients with hard-to-treat epilepsy. The Daily Mail reports on the positive results.
Results were dramatic. 42% of patients with LGS experienced a reduction in frequency and severity of seizures. These patients can experience up to 80 seizures a day and are usually diagnosed in pre-school. The youngest patient on trial was only two years old.
One third of LGS patients are resistant to pharmaceuticals used to control seizures, and most of these patients become housebound. The hope is that if Epidiolex can treat this severe form of epilepsy, it will also help drug-resistant patients with less severe symptoms.
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Results are encouraging
Professor Helen Cross, neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said the results were encouraging, since seizures were reduced dramatically. If it works on one of the most extreme forms of epilepsy, then it is believed it will work for other patients with uncontrolled seizures.
Prof Cross, one of the UK’s leading pediatric neurologists, says constant daily seizures are devastating for children and their families.
Epidiolex also did well in earlier trials on Dravet Syndrome patients, producing equally exceptional results. Cambridge-based GW Pharmaceuticals expects the drug’s approval by regulatory authorities in Europe and the US next year.
Once licensed it can be prescribed
Once Epidiolex is licensed for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, drug resistant patients with more common forms of epilepsy, will also be able to use it. Currently, there are more than 24 different kinds of medication for epilepsy, and some patients have tried all of them, but still suffer daily seizures.
Prof Cross says one of the major challenges for any neurologist treating epilepsy patients; is treating thousands of patients who are drug resistant. This is because even a few seizures a day can wreck a child’s education, or prevent an adult from being employed.
The article by the Daily Mail says that the medication is made from cannabis with “addictive and narcotic elements removed”. What could this possibly mean? Coffee and sugar are believed to be more addictive than cannabis! Besides, the medication was made from high CBD hemp, so there was little or no THC to “remove” anyway!
A mom of a child with LGS also takes the Daily Mail to task regarding the article, which refers to seizures as “fits”, saying the word “fit” was derived from ‘conflict’ in Babylonia times, the conflict being between the body and demons! She asks: “What century are we living in?”
CBD for epilepsy
CBD for epilepsy has been used for a while with great success. Charlotte’s web is a strain of hemp which is high in CBD and low in THC. Now that Epidiolex will soon be available, many more patients will be reached with cannabis for epilepsy – or at least – a form of it. The “new” results may be “old news” since so many have used CBD in this way, but there is new hope for epilepsy sufferers