26-01-2018| Patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome improve after cannabidiol research

26 January 2018
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Pharmaceutical types of cannabidiol could reduce fall-related seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a major form of infant epilepsy, according to new research. People with the condition benefitted from such treatment according to a three-month clinical trial published by The Lancet and this group were resistant to conventional treatments.

The trial reduced the frequency of seizures in patients with the illness, just 10% of whom had previously been found to respond to conventional drug treatments, though the authors say that efficacy and safety of the new treatment 'now needs to be confirmed'.

Christina SanInocencio

Authors now state, however, that the safety of the new treatment needs to be confirmed.

"The publication of these positive results is an exciting milestone for the LGS community and we are encouraged that a new treatment option could soon be available," said Christina SanInocencio, executive director of the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Foundation. "Additional treatment options are desperately needed for patients who continue to struggle with uncontrolled seizures and these results offer much needed hope to those living with this debilitating condition."

"LGS is one of the most difficult types of epilepsy to treat and the majority of patients do not have an adequate response to existing therapies," said Elizabeth Thiele, MD, PhD, director of pediatric epilepsy at Massachusetts General Hospital, professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study publication. "These results show that Epidiolex may provide clinically meaningful benefits for patients with LGS."

171 patients

The research focused on 171 patients from the US, the Netherlands and Poland who had displayed a variety of seizures in the preceding six months. They were administered a pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol, or a placebo, via a 50:50 split on a daily basis.

Towards the end of the trial, atonic, tonic or tonic-clonic seizures lowered in the cannabidiol group by 43.9% compared to a 21.8% reduction for those on the placebo. People in the cannabidiol group witnessed a further reduction in other seizures of 41.2% compared with 13.7% for the placebo group.

Cannabidiol – caution

Cannabidiol was not an overall success as 62% of the group also experienced side effects from the treatment, ranging from the mild to the more serious, including diarrhoea, drowsiness, fever, and vomiting.

More information on the study can be found by clicking here.

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