Cannabis-based medicine may reduce seizures in certain epilepsy patients
Cannabidiol appears to reduce seizures for some patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
(HealthDay News) — Cannabidiol may reduce seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 22 to 28 in Boston.
Anup Patel, MD, of Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues tested cannabidiol in 225 young patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The patients had an average age of 16 years. Each month, the study participants had an average of 85 drop seizures. The patients were taking an average of 3 epilepsy drugs at the time of the study. For 14 weeks, the participants also received either a higher or lower dose of daily cannabidiol, or an inactive placebo, in addition to their current medications.
The patients who took the higher dose had a 42% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 40% of this group, their seizures were reduced by half or more. The patients who took the lower dose had a 37% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 36%, seizures were reduced by half or more. Those in the placebo group had a 17% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 15%, seizures were reduced by half or more. Side effects were reported by 94% of those in the higher-dose group, 84% of those taking the lower dose, and 72% of those taking the placebo. Most side effects were mild to moderate, and the two most common were decreased appetite and sleepiness.
Compared to those in the placebo group, patients who took cannabidiol were up to 2.6 times more likely to say their overall condition had improved, according to the study. "Our results suggest that cannabidiol may be effective for those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in treating drop seizures," Patel said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.
The study was supported by GW Pharmaceuticals.
- Cannabis-based medicine may cut seizures in half for those with tough-to-treat epilepsy [press release]. American Academy of Neurology. Published April 18, 2017. Accessed April 21, 2017.