Cannabis Drug Succeeds against Epilepsy
This clinical trial was greatly anticipated.
That’s because of the dual results researchers hoped to get -- success in the medical aspect and then the financial benefits that success could incur. And when this experimental cannabis-based drug was effective in treating children with a rare form of severe epilepsy, it more than doubled the value of its manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals.
GW's Epidiolex, used to treat Dravet syndrome, is the first of four final-stage Phase III epilepsy trials with results expected this year. The drugmaker hopes upcoming results will confirm the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, the active ingredients found in marijuana.
The company announced that the 120-patient trial showed patients taking Epidiolex achieved a median reduction in monthly convulsive seizures of 39% compared with a reduction on placebo of 13%. GW will now seek a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss its plans to get regulatory approval for treating this particular form of epilepsy.
Epidiolex (given as a child-friendly syrup) is also being tested in Phase III trials for another rare type of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome -- also in a late-stage study in a third epilepsy indication, tuberous sclerosis complex.