The first FDA-approved Cannabis-based medication is now available in the United States for the treatment of two rare childhood seizure disorders. It is the first in a new category of anti-epileptic medications.
First Cannabis-Based Medication Available Nationwide
On Nov. 1, Epidiolex, the country’s first FDA-approved cannabis-based medication became available in the United States. It is an oral solution that is used specifically for the treatment of two epileptic conditions, namely the Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, both of which are rare and severe. The said conditions appear in young children and may persist until adulthood.
It was recommended for approval last April, and was approved just last June. As a now-available drug, it may be procured through physician prescription as a treatment option for the severe conditions. Its formulation is made up of highly purified, plant-derived cannabidiol or CBD without the high that is associated with marijuana.
According to Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, there has been a need for new therapies for patients of such conditions because they have not historically responded well to the available treatments.
Having new treatment options for such conditions are actually important for the affected community, as not everyone responds to the available treatments. In fact, a 2017 survey found that 14 percent of epilepsy patients in Australia have used cannabis products to manage their condition.
In particular, those who do not respond to the available medications or suffer intolerable side effects are the ones who tried cannabis products. Among them, 90 percent of adults and 71 percent of children experienced significant success. As such, members of the community are glad to have a new treatment option for the condition.
“Despite the use of multiple epilepsy treatments, the majority of LGS patients continue to have life-long, debilitating seizures and our community welcomes the availability of a new, first-in-class treatment option,” said Christina SanInnocencio, executive director of the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Foundation.