A new treatment has surfaced for epilepsy, which is quite a tough medical condition to treat. The new medicine has been created from cannabis.
The latest drug has been derived from cannabis, after the removal of the entire narcotic and addictive elements present in it. The drug has undergone trials by the Great Ormond Street doctors. The drug was given to patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a quite rare form of epilepsy. Patients suffering from this disease can experience as many as 80 seizures per day.
The results from the study are deemed as significant. The new drug, called Epidiolex, has helped to reduce the severity and number of epilepsy events for a total of 42% of patients. The researchers think that if the new drug is able to exhibit such results, it might show even better outcomes for patients that don’t experience severe symptoms.
Currently, about a third of the patients with this untreatable brain disorder show resistance to drugs that are administered for controlling seizers. Furthermore, a few of them remain housebound. The form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome beings during the pre-school years. The sample for the current trial included a two-year-old child.
According to Professor Helen Cross, the results from the research are quite significant, and the drug has helped patients only to suffer from a few fits as compared to numerous per day. That is why, it is believed that if the new drug can have such amazing results for one of the severest forms of this condition, it should exhibit even better results for patients suffering from a comparatively lower form of epilepsy severity.
Positive results were also seen during the drug’s trail for another rare epilepsy form called Dravet Syndrome.
The likelihood of epileptic seizures increases when patients feel stressed, dehydrated, tired, or have consumed a lot of alcohol. Fits can also occur due to strobe lighting in patients who have photosensitive epilepsy. The manufacturer of the new drug expects to get approval for the medicine by next year.
Talking about the functioning of the new drug it helps to dampen excessive electrical activity present in the nervous system which has been studied to be the reason for a lot of seizure attacks. The same manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals, is additionally conducting trials of chemicals present in various strains of cannabis for potentially treating cancer. A mouth spray by the company has shown positive results for controlling painful muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis, another neurological condition.
The new drug Epidiolex will be able to be used for patients suffering from other forms of epilepsy and showing drug-resistance, after getting licensed for Dravet and Lennox-Gastault Syndromes.
While there are numerous drugs meant for epilepsy, a lot of patients still suffer from daily seizures even after trying the available medicines. The biggest challenge in curing epilepsy is the treatment of numerous patients that have drug resistance. Even a handful of fits per day can stop a child from gaining an education or an adult from holding a job.
More research is required to find more effective means of epilepsy treatment. However, the upcoming drug has provided some hope for numerous patients who have epilepsy.