Published on March 6th, 2020
25th June 2018 is a landmark date for people who have fought for and collected evidence to show that Cannabidiol or CBD is an effective treatment option for many fatal diseases.
On this day, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of medicine by the name of Epidiolex to treat 2 serious kinds of epilepsy – the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or LGS and Dravet Syndrome.
What Is Epidiolex?
This FDA-approved drug is made from a component of the marijuana or Cannabis sativa plant called cannabidiol. The component is purified and then converted into a pharmaceutical-grade formulation for the manufacture of the medicine.
The drug has been approved by FDA to be used by any human being who is more than two years of age. This means that kids above two and adults have been proved to benefit from the medication.
Why A landmark Decision?
It is so because this is the first-ever prescription medicine that contains plant-based chemical components derived from the Cannabis plant to be approved by FDA for the treatment of a disease.
The other thing about Epidiolex is that it is the first drug that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of a disease like Dravet Syndrome that had no other known treatment available till now.
Details About CBD
CBD or cannabidiol is a pharmaceutical or medical term for a chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant or Cannabis.
While the leaves and the female flowers of this plant are what is known popularly as the ‘infamous’ marijuana, medically it is the active naturally-occurring compounds found in the Cannabis plant that is used for making medicines. CBD is regularly extolled as a magical cure-all, touted to be able to ease chronic pain, to alleviate insomnia, and even to treat cancer.
About The Diseases
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe condition characterized by recurrent seizures (epilepsy) that begin early in life. This is a hard-to-treat medical disorder that starts in childhood. Some key features of this disease are – multiple seizures, physical and cognitive deficiencies.
LGS seizures are different from other known types of epilepsy and hence need a different line of medication to treat the patients.
2. Dravet Syndrome
This type of epilepsy also begins quite early in life. Multiple seizures are accompanied by fevers. These people face challenges with behaviors and learning issues.
This is also a medical condition that is difficult to treat and patients are known to have persistent seizures.
Years of research in this field has revealed that the use of CBD has helped patients with seizure issues. Last year multiple studies have proved that Epidiolex has helped reduce the frequency of seizures in patients.
The reduction observed was between 63% to 30%. Also, the severity of the seizures was less while the post-seizure severity was also reduced to a great extent.
The results proved the efficacy of the FDA-approved CBD. It showed that kids who were being treated with pharmaceutical CBD had 39% reduction in seizures while those treated with artisanal variety registered about 70% increase in seizures.
Word of Caution: Artisanal CBD, as per certain reports, often contain negligible percentage of CBD. A study from 2017 published in JAMA, scientists revealed that most CBD products contained less than the percentage that was mentioned on the packaging. And, some contained THC too.
TCH is Tetrahydrocannabinol and is one that is responsible for the ‘high’ from marijuana. Consumers need to be therefore, careful and aware of CBD products that they consume and follow only recommendations from doctors.
It is important to note that the pharma-formulation of CBD or the medicine Epidiolex is not recommended for treating other types of seizures or forms of epilepsy.
Epidiolex is meant for consuming orally. It is available in liquid form. The dosage should be taken as prescribed by a physician or medical practitioner. The doctor prescribes the dose as per the weight of the patient.
In the beginning, the dose starts at 2.5 mg/kg and should be taken twice a day. The dose is increased on a weekly basis. This drug should be taken at regular intervals and should never typically be missed.
The side-effects show only for the first few days. Some of the noticeable side-effects are:
- Weakness, Lethargy, And Fatigue
- Decrease In Appetite
- Diarrhea And Vomiting
- Issues With Sleeping
- Infection In The Respiratory Tract
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