New CBD Trials in Epileptic Patients Leads to Promising Results

At The American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting, held on December 7, 2015 in Philadelphia it expressed opportunistic research concerning the use of hemp extract known as CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is a non-psychoactive extract from the hemp plant. This non-psychoactive extract does not alter one's mood, consciousness or perception.  Although this clinical research is anecdotal, the results were positive in most patients with debilitating seizures. Such forms of  these treatment-resistant disorders include Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS).    

GW Pharmaceutical’s conducted a study to administer Epidiolex (cannabidiol) to 261 patients. Epidiolex is an investigational drug and has not yet been approved for use by the FDA.

The experimental drug was introduced to the patient's current AED (anti-epileptic drugs) treatments and given in gradual amounts while increasing doses during the 12 week study.

Here are their results concluding the 12 week study:

  • 45% of the participants frequency in seizures were reduced
  • 47% of the participants had a considerable reduction of seizures
  • 9% were seizure free
  • 62% of DS patients experienced a reduction of seizures
  • 13% of DS patients were seizure free
  • 71% of LGS patients experienced a reduction of atonic seizures
  • 10% experienced adverse effects of somnolence, diarrhea and fatigue which led to discontinuation in four percent of patients.
  • 34% reported serious adverse events of which five percent were considered treatment related  
  • 12% withdrew due to lack of efficacy

Lead author Orrin Devinsky, M.D., of New York University Langone Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center said:

"We are pleased to report these promising data on significant numbers of children, These data reinforce and support the safety and efficacy we have shared in previous studies. Most importantly it is providing hope to the children and their families who have been living with debilitating seizures. These results are from an uncontrolled study. Further study is needed before results can be confirmed. Randomized controlled studies are now underway to help us better understand the effectiveness of the drug. As a practitioner, I have had families move to Colorado, and many tried multiple different products, As a doctor, I often don’t feel like I know which of many factors is contributing to a patient doing better or worse. We absolutely need rigorous, scientific data on this. We very much look forward to the results from these studies during 2016."

For more than 75 years the AES has provided a forum of medical & scientific members whose goal is the clinical care and research for people with epilepsy. Epilepsy and seizures affect three million Americans of all ages. The AES urges the Federal DEA to review Marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, as do I.

 

Summary and opinion by Ronald Pires. Check the full article here.


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