A severe form of epilepsy Dravet Syndrome is characterised by frequent, prolonged seizures which are often triggered by high body temperature, speech impairment, developmental delay and many other health issues. It is a rare and lifelong form of epilepsy affecting 1 out of every 15700 individuals. Dravet is a life-threatening condition and there are also not many treatment options that prove to be effective against it.
Luckily, a latest study done in Philadelphia has opened the doors for a natural remedy CBD in reducing seizure frequency in Dravet.
Epidiolex, a CBD medication approved by the FDA is currently being used by many to treat epileptic seizures and this study has paved the way for more positive results.
About The Study
Cannabidiol CBD can be effective in reducing seizures by almost 50% in patients suffering from Dravet Syndrome. A randomized study of almost 200 children with Dravet syndrome showed a showed 56% reduction from baseline in total seizures for participants who received CBD 10 mg/kg/day and a 47% reduction for those who received CBD 20 mg/kg/day vs a 30% reduction for the participants who received a placebo.
Moreover, in all three groups, seizures with convulsions decreased by 49% and 46% respectively as compared to 27% with placebo administration.
The lead author Ian Miller, MD, medical director doe the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami, Florida, said, ”These findings, as well as those from previous research, show that the 10 mg/kg/day dose of CBD for Dravet syndrome “definitely makes clinical sense. And there’s a reason to hope clinically that there will be an improvement in seizures at that dose,”.
He further mentioned, ” “It’s exciting to be able to offer another alternative for children with this debilitating form of epilepsy and their families.”
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First Drug Approved for Dravet
Earlier in June 2018, CBD was approved by the FDA for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome under the trade name Epidiolex. After 3 months, this drug was rescheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to a Schedule V drug.
Incidence of adverse events
The most common AEs were diarrhea, sleepiness, decreased appetite, somnolence, fatigue and pyrexia. Serious AE’s occurred in 20%, 25%, and 15% of the groups, respectively. AE related withdrawals occurred in 7% of those in the 20mg group.
The full findings of the study will be presented at the 2019 American Academy Of Neurology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
According to Miller, “The previous study done in this regard assessed CBD at 20 mg/kg/day for Dravet syndrome. In the current study, the investigators sought to assess the safety and effectiveness of two doses of the drug as add-on anticonvulsant therapy in Dravet-related drug-resistant seizures.
In this study, patients were a mean age of 9 years and the treatment period was 14 weeks. All these patients were taking a median of three antiepileptic drugs. All had previously discontinued a median of 4 AEDs. The group was randomized 1:1:1 to either the 10 mg/kg (n = 67) or 20 mg/kg doses (n = 67), or placebo (n = 65
The primary outcome of the research was a change in convulsive seizure frequency from the 4-week baseline to the end of the 14-week treatment period.
“It’s exciting to be able to offer another alternative for children with this debilitating form of epilepsy and their families,” said Miller.
“The children in this study had already tried an average of four epilepsy drugs with no success, and at the time were taking an average of three additional drugs, so to have this measure of success with cannabidiol is a major victory,” he said.
However, Miller noted that more research is needed to determine” where edges are” in terms of absolute efficacy in additional populations. “Absent that, it’s just going to be a matter of clinical experience and judgment in terms of what types of epilepsy are appropriate for treatment with cannabidiol,” he added.
Thus, we can conclude that CBD can be effective as well as a natural supplement to reduce the frequency of seizures in epilepsy. Dravet Syndrome is a severe and chronic condition that may result in many neurological issues. This new study has given new hope for patients suffering from this condition.
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