Cannabidiol May Help Treat Intractable Epilepsy

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Cannabidiol May Help Treat Intractable Epilepsy
Cannabidiol May Help Treat Intractable Epilepsy

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- According to the results of several trials presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, held from Dec. 2 to 6 in Houston, cannabidiol (CBD) may help reduce seizure frequency in children and adults with two hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

For one of the trials, 120 children with Dravet syndrome were randomly assigned to either have CBD or a placebo added to their standard anti-seizure medication. After 14 weeks, children on CBD saw a 39 percent reduction in their seizure frequency, on average -- versus 13 percent in the placebo group.

A second trial involved 171 children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome who were randomly assigned to take either CBD or a placebo with their usual medication. The results were similar: After 14 weeks, the CBD group experienced a 44 percent reduction in seizures, compared to 22 percent in the placebo group.

Another study, of 81 adults and children with treatment-resistant epilepsy, found that the drug decreased the severity of patients' seizures, as well as the frequency. The University of Alabama researchers cautioned, however, that not all of the patients benefited, and a few worsened. Yet another study from the same researchers addressed the issue of drug interactions. The researchers found that CBD does interact with several anti-seizure medications. For some patients, interaction caused problems such as sedation and a decrease in liver function.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the pharmaceutical-grade CBD used in the studies.

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