AAN17: Study demonstrates cannabis-based medicine may reduce epileptic seizures

Written by Frances Adlam, Future Science Group

A collaborative group of researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Ohio State University College of Medicine (both OH, USA) have demonstrated the therapeutic effect of cannabidiol in reducing seizures in children and adults suffering from Lennox- Gastaut syndrome (LGS).

The results, which will be presented at the American the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting (held 22–28 April 2017, NY, USA), provide a possible treatment for drop seizures, a type of epilepsy that is notoriously challenging to treat.

LGS is a severe form of epilepsy, developed in childhood, that leads patients to suffer from multiple forms of seizures including drop seizures and tonic-clonic seizures. These seizures are difficult to control and in many cases result in patients displaying impaired intellectual development.

In this large-scale controlled clinical study the researchers followed 225 patients with an average age of 16. Over the 14 week study period the group of researchers gave patients either a high dose of 20mg/kg cannabidiol daily, a lower dose of 10mg/kg cannabidiol daily or a placebo on top of their normal medications.

Results demonstrated that the group taking the higher dose resulted in a 42% reduction in drop seizures and for 40% these seizures were reduced by half or more. The group taking the lower dose had a 37% reduction in drop seizures with 36% of seizures reduced by half or more. The placebo group had a 17% reduction in drop seizures with 15% of seizures reduced by half or more.

Mild to moderate side effects, such as loss of appetite and fatigue, were reported in the higher dose, lower dose and placebo groups at 94%, 84% and 72% respectively.

Study author, Anup Patel (Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus) commented: “Our results suggest that cannabidiol may be effective for those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in treating drop seizures. This is important because this kind of epilepsy is incredibly difficult to treat. While there were more side effects for those taking cannabidiol, they were mostly well-tolerated. I believe that it may become an important new treatment option for these patients.”

The group plan to submit a New Drug Application to the FDA in late 2017.

Source: Science daily press release www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170418161907.htm