Cannabidiol reduces seizure rate in rare form of epilepsy

Study finds that use of cannabidiol reduces frequency of drop seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Cannabidiol, bottled

Cannabidiol (Epidiolex; GW Pharma) reduces the risk of drop seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare, severe form of epilepsy, according to the results of a recent study (17 May 2018)[1]

The trial randomly assigned 225 patients who were experiencing at least two drop seizures per week to cannabidiol 10mg/kg or 20mg/kg, or placebo, in addition to their usual antiseizure medication.

During the 28-day treatment period, the median number of drop seizures declined by 41.9% in patients assigned to cannabidiol 20mg/kg and by 37.2% in those assigned to cannabidiol 10mg/kg, compared with 17.2% in the placebo group, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (17 May 2018).

Drop seizures, in which patients experience a sudden loss of muscle tone, are a hallmark of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and frequently continue despite pharmaceutical treatment.

“This landmark study provides data and evidence that Epidiolex can be an effective and safe treatment for seizures seen in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a very difficult to control epilepsy syndrome,” concludes Anup Patel, lead study author from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex for use in the United States, but it is not yet licensed in the UK.


[1] Devinsky O, Patel A, Cross J et al. Effect of cannabidiol on drop seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. N Engl J Med 2018;378:1888–1897. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1714631

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, August 2018, Vol 10, No 8;10(8):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205058

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