Low Dose of CBD Liquid Eases Epilepsy Seizures

Low Dose of CBD Liquid Eases Epilepsy Seizures

WEDNESDAY, May 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Less appears to be more when it comes to treating epilepsy with the marijuana extract cannabidiol, a new clinical trial suggests.

Patients taking a 10-milligram (mg) daily dose of pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) experienced nearly as great a reduction in seizures as patients on 20 mg, and with fewer side effects, said lead researcher Dr. Orrin Devinsky. He is director of NYU Langone's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York City.

This is the third clinical trial to show that the cannabidiol medication Epidiolex is useful in treating two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, Devinsky said.

An advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended in April that Epidiolex be approved for use in the United States. The FDA does not have to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels, but it typically does. 

Epidiolex is manufactured by the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals, which funded the latest clinical trial.

"This is a historic moment in medicine," Devinsky said. "Hopefully, the FDA will approve this medication in their June meeting and cannabidiol will be available for children and adults with these two rare epilepsies."

Although CBD oil has become a trendy cure-all, treatment of epilepsy is the only use that has garnered significant scientific evidence supporting its usefulness.

This latest study is the first to compare two different doses of Epidiolex head-to-head and against an inactive placebo, Devinsky said.

A total of 225 patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were divided into three groups. Those taking 20 mg of Epidiolex a day had 42 percent fewer seizures, on average, compared with 37 percent fewer seizures in the group taking 10 mg of the drug, and a 17 percent reduction in the placebo group.

But while the 20-mg dose was slightly more effective, it was not the first choice of parents, Devinsky said.

"When parents were asked to rate how their children did best, they actually had a slight preference for the 10-mg dose without knowing what it was," he added.

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