GW Pharma to market CBD child-epilepsy drug

With an FDA nod to multi-national drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals, a CBD-based  anti-seizure medication is on the horizon.

Epidiolex will be on the market before the end of 2018.

In May 2017, a first-of-its kind study showed that CBD can reduce seizures in children with a rare, life-threatening type of epilepsy –  Dravet syndrome. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That CBD worked surprised none of the parents who’d already discovered it.  Epilepsy drugs were near useless and parents were desperate.

“For the first time, there is now class 1 evidence that adjunctive use of CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes,” says a January 2018 article in the Journal of Epilepsy Research.

In a news release announcing the company’s third-quarter-2018 financial results and operational progress, GW CEO Justin Gover said that in preparation for its full product  launch this fall, the company “has completed the hiring of (its) U.S. sales organization and are engaged with patient organizations, physicians and managed care organizations/payors.”

In the 2017 study, 120 young patients took the CBD in addition to the their existing anti-seizure medications, which were not adequately controlling the seizures.  

The children and teens from under three years old to 18 years old, were treated at 23 different centres in the United States and Europe.

The research found:

  • A significant reduction in frequency of convulsive seizures in the group taking CBD
  • 50% reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency in 43% of children treated with CBD
  • The frequency of seizures during the 14-week trial period went from 12.4 seizures per month down to 5.9 (median). 

Canadian company Harvest One is also on track toward development of new CBD medication for epilepsy. It’s phase 2 clinical trial produced comparable results to GW’s study.

One of the earliest published papers about the possibility of cannabinoids for epilepsy can be found in the December 1975 edition of Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, an international research publication that published it first issue in 1929.

THC was found to be an anti-convulsant in epileptic chickens when it was administered through IV, according to three researchers led by DD Johnson.

Follow-up research was conducted by the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Pharmacology College of Medicine, in Saskatoon.

More information on epilepsy in children 

 

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