A new study has found that people suffering from Dravet syndrome, a rare and more severe form of epilepsy, experienced a significant reduction in seizures after taking the first cannabis-based drug approved by the FDA, Epidiolex.
Three groups comprising a total of 199 children were fed different daily doses of the drug. While the first group was given 20mg daily, the second one received 10 mg; and the third group was given a placebo.
After a period of 14 weeks, the researchers found:
- The ’20 mg group’ had 47% fewer seizures and 46% fewer seizures with convulsions.
- The ’10 mg’ group saw 56% fewer seizures and 49% fewer seizures with convulsions.
- The Placebo group witnessed a 30% drop in seizure frequency and a 27% decrease in seizures with convulsions.
Based on the findings, it was concluded that a lower dose of 10-mg per kg of body weight taken daily has the same efficacy as the 20-mg dose. Thus, patients with Dravet syndrome should never be prescribed a higher dosage so as to eliminate the scope of any potential side effects.
“I personally was ecstatic to see such a robust treatment effect of the lower dose,” said co-author Dr. Ian Miller of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Notably, 7% of the participants reported symptoms like fever, poor appetite, fatigue and diarrhea.
Dr. Miller and his colleagues will reportedly present further details of the study at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting in December.
Both doses of Epidiolex (CBD) were found to have almost similar efficacy but the lower dose was, of course, better tolerated.
However, a study conducted in Israel, which studied 92 children and adults with different types of epilepsy, found that the effects of epidiolex diminished over time. Furthermore, a third of the subjects developed drug tolerance after an average of 7 months. As a result, the researchers had to increase the dosage to 30% to achieve the same reduced seizure effect.