Results from a newly-released large-scale study have indicated cannabidiol may reduce seizures by half for some children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
A drug-resistant and rare form of epilepsy, one of the features of LGS are drop seizures, which occur in just over half of people with the condition. Drop seizures, also known as atonic or akinetic seizures, are usually quite brief (~15 seconds), but particularly dangerous as it causes the person to collapse. While the seizure itself doesn’t cause damage, fall injuries can often result from it.
In the trial, participants were put into three groups administered either a 20 mg/kg daily dose of cannabidiol, a dose of 10 mg/kg daily, or a placebo. These were administered as an additional treatment to current medications they were taking.
225 people participated in the trial, with average of 85 drop seizures per month.
Those taking the higher dose experienced a 42 percent reduction in drop seizures overall. For 40 percent in this group, seizures were reduced by half or more. Those taking the 10 mg/kg daily dose had a 37 percent reduction in drop seizures overall. For 36 percent, seizures were reduced by half or more.
Only 17 percent taking the placebo saw a reduction in drop seizures and in 15 percent, seizures were reduced by half or more.
“Our results suggest that cannabidiol may be effective for those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in treating drop seizures,” said study author Anup Patel, MD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus.
“This is important because this kind of epilepsy is incredibly difficult to treat. While there were more side effects for those taking cannabidiol, they were mostly well-tolerated. I believe that it may become an important new treatment option for these patients.”
This isn’t the first study to point to the potential benefits of treating LGS with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid.
Last year, GW Pharmaceuticals announced positive results from a trial of its cannabidiol-based Epidiolex medicine for the treatment of LGS; reporting a median reduction in monthly drop seizures of 44 percent.
In March this year, we also reported on another trial that claimed a 50 percent or greater reduction in seizures in 84 percent of participants.