5 posts tagged “epilepsy treatments”

Epidiolex: First FDA-approved drug made from cannabis component (CBD)

Posted July 31st, 2018 by

In a historic move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Epidiolex — an epilepsy medication made from purified cannabidiol (CBD), found in cannabis. Read all about it and what it could mean for the future of cannabis-based treatments. As background, see these other recent write-ups we’ve done on medical cannabis/marijuana and CBD.

Epidiolex: First FDA-approved drug made from cannabis component (CBD)

What is Epidiolex?

Epidiolex “is a liquid formulation of pure plant-derived cannabidiol as a treatment for various orphan pediatric epilepsy syndromes,” according to GW Pharmaceuticals, the U.K.-based company that markets the medication (an oral solution).

Some other info to keep in mind:

  • Limited scope of approval — The FDA approved the treatment specifically for two rare and severe forms of child-onset epilepsy — Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome — in patients 2 years of age and older.
  • No THC — Epidiolex is made from purified CBD and does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component of marijuana that causes a euphoric “high.”
  • Thorough research — Researchers studied the treatment’s effectiveness in three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 516 patients. Epidiolex (taken along with other medications) helped reduce the frequency of seizures when compared with a placebo. Research by DailyCBD.com also found the medication has a very low potential for abuse.
  • Side effects — The FDA says the most common side effects that occurred in Epidiolex-treated patients in the clinical trials were: sleepiness, sedation and lethargy; elevated liver enzymes; decreased appetite; diarrhea; rash; fatigue, malaise and weakness; insomnia, sleep disorder and poor quality sleep; and infections.
  • Cannabis and CBD still controlled substances — Despite the approval of Epidiolex, other CBD and cannabis products are still currently (July 2018) “Schedule I” controlled substances under federal law, the FDA says (again, check out our CBD report for more info on laws and other FAQs).

Some reports say that Epidiolex could be prescribed for off-label uses (for patients with other forms of epilepsy), and its approval could open the door for other cannabis-based treatments, and research shows CBD oil’s ability to help with sleep.

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies,” says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “The FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.”

GW Pharmaceuticals lists other possible treatments they’re studying or developing. GW also markets Sativex (nabiximols) in several other countries to treat cancer pain and multiple sclerosis spasticity, Forbes reports, and a U.S. phase 3 trial is planned to test Sativex for MS spasticity.

What’s your reaction to the approval of Epidiolex? Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to discuss Epidiolex and CBD with others in the forum, and explore treatments members have tried.

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Join the “Now I Know” Video Campaign for National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Posted November 15th, 2012 by

“Today [my son] Jake is living a wonderful life, an extraordinary life, and now I know that’s possible.  When Jake was first diagnosed, we didn’t know that.  Now I know that…and that we’re not alone.”

Actor Greg Grunberg, father of a 16-year-old with epilepsy

Join the "Now I Know" Campaign by Submitting a Video About What You've Learned

When it comes to epilepsy, what do you know now that you wish you knew sooner?

That’s the question the Epilepsy Foundation is asking epilepsy patients and their families to ponder during National Epilepsy Awareness Month, which takes place every November. Share your struggles and successes in a video submission to the “Now I Know” campaign. Visitors to Epilepsy Foundation’s Facebook page will then have to the opportunity to vote on their favorites and share top videos with their social networks.  Ultimately, the top vote getters in each of four regions will win iPads and other prizes.

Affecting more than two million Americans, epilepsy is defined by the Epilepsy Foundation as “a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions.”  When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures – brief, strong surges of electrical activity affecting part or all of the brain that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes – they are typically considered to have epilepsy.  Symptoms can range from convulsions and loss of consciousness to more subtle signs, such as lip smacking, blank stares and jerking movements in the arms and legs.

A Snapshot of the Epilepsy Community at PatientsLikeMe

More than 7,000 PatientsLikeMe members are sharing their experiences with epilepsy, including their symptoms, treatments and more.  Using our Seizure Meter, members are also able to record their seizure history, including the type of seizure (e.g. clonic seizure, complex partial seizure, tonic-clonic seizure).  What are our members taking to control their epilepsy – and how well is it working?  Check out the hundreds of treatment evaluations submitted for common medications such as Keppra, Lamictal and Topamax and learn from others like you today.