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Epidiolex for Epilepsy

  • June 14, 2017
  • RPh on the Go

epilepsy treatmentThere is a strong movement in the country to move to the use of cannabis, and various forms of cannabis, for treating a wide variety of illnesses. Epilepsy is one illness that has been highlighted in the past as one that responds well to cannabis oils. Overall, the main component has been the use of a cannabinoid, a compound found in marijuana, to combat the seizures often associated with epilepsy. For parents who are desperate for a way to treat their child, this can be an enticing endeavor. Pharmaceutical companies are now stepping up and trying to create a medicine that will meet FDA standards and use cannabinoid to treat those seizures.

What is Epidiolex?

Epidiolex is the latest medicine created by GW Pharmaceuticals. They are dedicated to creating medicines that will help treat treatment-resistant epilepsy conditions that have either exhausted all other possible treatments or do not have any options available. It’s important to note that they are not looking to market this medicine to just any epileptic patient. GW’s focus has been on Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastraut Syndrome (LGS), Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), and Infantile Spasms.

Is There FDA Approval?

At this time, no. GW Pharmaceuticals is conducting the appropriate case studies to determine safety and provide efficacy data. Once gathered, it will be submitted to FDA and various agencies around the world to be approved and become a prescription medicine. So far, all case studies have been conducted as a blind test. Patients, families, and physicians are completely unaware if they are taking Epidiolex or a placebo. To date, the Phase 3 trials for Dravet Syndrome and LGS have shown a significant decrease in specific types of seizures in comparison to the placebo.

What Does This Mean for the Medical Field?

This means we could see a momentous change in treatments for epileptic patients! Since it does take a long time to obtain the data and get FDA approval, we won’t see this right away. Right now, there appears to be a division in the medical community as to the validity of treatments involving cannabinoids. With so many concerns, anything related to cannabis has the potential to be dismissed a little too quickly. It’s our hope that science prevails and any treatment that can be devised to help a child with treatment-resistant epilepsy is given the chance. In the meantime, if you have a patient with a treatment-resistant epilepsy that may be open to joining clinical trials, GW Pharmaceuticals is still currently looking for patients to join their case studies. In order to be considered, the patients’ physicians must make the referral by contacting GW at [email protected].

Regardless of where anyone stands with the use of cannabinoids, we hope that pharmaceutical companies keep working hard to treat those illnesses that have become treatment-resistant. We owe it to these children to find a way to make their lives a little easier.

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