Cannabidiol Reduces Drop Seizures in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

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Cannabidiol may reduce frequency of drop seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Cannabidiol may reduce frequency of drop seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

HealthDay News — For patients with drop seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, add-on cannabidiol is associated with a reduction in monthly drop seizure frequency, according to a study published online in The Lancet.

Elizabeth A. Thiele, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial at 24 clinical sites to examine the efficacy of cannabidiol as add-on therapy for drop seizures in 171 patients with treatment-resistant Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to cannabidiol (86 patients) or placebo (85 patients).

The researchers found that the median percentage reduction in monthly drop seizure frequency was 43.9% and 21.8% in the cannabidiol and placebo groups, respectively. During the 14-week treatment period, the estimated median difference between treatment groups was −17.21. Adverse events occurred in 86% and 69% of patients in the cannabidiol and placebo groups, respectively; most were mild or moderate. Diarrhea, somnolence, pyrexia, decreased appetite, and vomiting were the most common adverse effects. Due to adverse events, 12 patients in the cannabidiol group and one in the placebo group withdrew from the study.

"Add-on cannabidiol is efficacious for the treatment of patients with drop seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and is generally well tolerated," the authors write. "The long-term efficacy and safety of cannabidiol is currently being assessed in the open-label extension of this trial."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including GW Pharmaceuticals, which funded the study.

Reference

Thiele EA, Marsh ED, French JA, et al. Cannabidiol in patients with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (GWPCARE4): a ransomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial [published online January 24, 2018]. Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30136-3

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