FDA Approved First Cannabidiol-based Drug for Seizures
Last summer the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a CBD oil or cannabidiol to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex, a form of cannabidiol, has been shown to have a positive impact on those living with these rare and severe types of epilepsy.
Dravet Syndrome is a genetic condition that appears before a child turns one. It is characterized by constant febrile seizures (fever seizures). As the child gets older, they begin to experience several other different types of seizures including myoclonic seizures (muscle spasms). Children may also experience status epilepticus, a state of continuous seizing, which is life-threatening. Those with Dravet syndrome have trouble developing linguistic and motor skills and often experience other disorders such as hyperactivity.
Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, like Dravet Syndrome, begins in early childhood (between 3 and 5) and is characterized by the occurrence of different seizure types. The majority of individuals affected by this syndrome experience tonic seizures which are defined as an uncontrollable contraction of the muscles. Those with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome have trouble learning and also experience a delay in their motor skill development. Ultimately those with this syndrome require long-term care.
Considering the early onset and severity of the disorders, treatment with Epidiolex has been granted for children as young as two years old.
Before releasing the drug, the FDA completed three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to test the drug. 516 patients with either syndrome were brought in for the clinical trials. The study showed that Epidiolex reduced the frequency of seizures when compared to the placebo group.