More evidence has been found on the therapeutic use of cannabis to treat severe epilepsy, with results of a new study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia from May 4-10.
The Phase III study on 199 children with Dravet syndrome used cannabidiol (CBD), and showed to cut seizures nearly in half. Dravet syndrome is a rare and sever type of epilepsy, which starts in infancy and can lead to intellectual disabilities and frequent, prolonged seizures.
The author of the study, Ian Miller MD, of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Florida, said “It’s exciting to be able to offer another alternative for children with this debilitating form of epilepsy and their families.
“The children in this study had already tried an average of four epilepsy drugs with no success and at the time were taking an average of three additional drugs, so to have this measure of success with cannabidiol is a major victory.”
The patients were divided into three groups. One group received 20 mg/kg per day of CBD, the second group received 10 mg/kg per day and the third group received a placebo.
By the end of the 14 week study, seizures with convulsions were reduced by 46% in patients on the high dose, 47% on the low dose, and 27% on placebo. Total seizure reduction was 47% on the high dose, 56% on the low dose, and 30% in the placebo group.
In total, 49% of participants had their seizures cut half or more when on the high dose, compared to 44% on the low dose and 26% on placebo.
“Based on these results, dose increases above 10 mg/kg per day should be carefully considered based on the effectiveness and safety for each individual” Miller said.