Cannabidiol (CBD) has always believed to be a potential anti-seizure compound for animals and humans. Two brand new studies claimed that the use of this non-intoxicating chemical can prevent seizures to those who suffered epilepsy, especially children patients.
A study conducted by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, confirmed that CBD lowers seizure frequency of people who suffered from Dravet Syndrome by 39%.
The trial for this research included 120 children and teenagers who experienced severe seizures in the first years of their lives due to Dravet Syndrome. These said seizures are are prolonged and repetitive; it is so severe that 1 in 5 children with this condition do not live to see age 20, the author said.
For 14 weeks, patients were randomly assigned to take either either 20 milligrams of liquid Epidiolex or a placebo on top of their usual medications. Significantly, children who received Epidiolex experienced fewer seizures, from an average 12 fits a month down to only 6. Three of the patients have stopped seizures entirely.
“We now have strong evidence that CBD [cannabidiol] can be helpful for some people with Dravet Syndrome,” Fureman said. He added that the trial provides vital information for doctors and families who are trying to decide if CBD is their best option for some particular case.
However, 9 out of 10 children did experience side effects from treatment with Epidiolex. Most common side effects were vomiting, fatigue and fever.
“Side effects are always an issue, but the drug was tolerated about as well as conventional anti-epileptic drugs,” stated Berkovic, who wrote an editorial to accompany the clinical trial report.
He concluded that CBD seems to appear work for other people and not for others just like any other medications. “Like other epilepsy treatments, there are side effects of CBD that should be considered.”
Meanwhile, a new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggested that CBDl has an effect to blood levels of several anti-seizure drugs, especially clobazam.
Alabama researchers are testing Cannabidiol to 39 adults and 42 children who experience difficult-to-control epilepsy. Other drugs that the patients are taking are clobazam (Onfi), topiramate (Topamax), rufinamide (Banzel), zonisamide (Zonegran), valproate (Depakote) and eslicarbazepine.
The results show that blood levels of some of the drugs changed drastically, but except for clobazam which does not deviate from the accepted range when Cannabidiol was used.
“A perception exists that since CBD is plant-based, that it is natural and safe; and while this may be mostly true, our study shows that CBD, just like other antiepileptic drugs, has interactions with other seizure drugs that patients and providers need to be aware of,” said study author Dr. Tyler Gaston in a journal news release.