Cannabis-based medicine to be tested as child epilepsy therapy
Doctors in the UK have been given the go-ahead to test a cannabis-based medicine called Epidiolex, which does not contain the ingredient that produces the high associated with recreational cannabis use.24 Dec 2014
Doctors in the UK have been given the go-ahead to test the medicine, which does not contain the ingredient that produces the high associated with recreational cannabis use. The treatment – called Epidiolex – is based on one of the non-psychoactive components of the cannabis plant, called CBD.
Early studies in the US have shown that treatment with CBD may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy. The new trial marks the first time the treatment has been tested in the UK.
Patients are being enrolled for a randomised controlled trial of the treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University of Edinburgh’s Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, based at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool are also driving the study. There are further centres in the US, France and Poland.
Their initial focus will be on children with Dravet Syndrome, a rare but serious type of epilepsy that is difficult to treat. Some children will receive the treatment while others will receive a placebo. In a further phase, researchers will also study the effect on children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Only children whose seizures cannot be controlled with existing medications will be invited to take part in the trial.
Dravet Syndrome usually takes hold in the first year of life. It causes seizures that are often prolonged, lasting longer than five minutes. They then develop other seizure types. This has a significant impact on the child’s development and can be fatal in some cases.
Epidiolex has been developed by the British biotechnology company GW Pharmaceuticals, which is sponsoring and funding the trial.Share this on: