Approval of Epidiolex, a Cannabis derived drug for the treatment of Seizures

Apr 16, 2019   

By Jane Clarke
April 16, 2019

Epidiolex became the first cannabis-derived medication to be approved by the FDA in June of this year. It is used to treat two types of serious childhood epilepsy from the British organization GW Pharmaceuticals. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for sale in the US on Monday. It will probably be available in pharmacies by prescription.

Epidiolex contains a chemical compound, cannabinoid otherwise called CBD. It is popular for its reported abilities to help relief from illnesses, for example, anxiety, joint pain, a sleeping disorder, and nausea.

Moreover, epidiolex is useful in treating an uncommon type of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and a genetic brain dysfunction known as Dravet syndrome. According to CNN, the two disorders can cause seizures. In any case, Epidiolex, with its cannabis derivatives, has been found to reduce a particular kind of those seizures by as much as 25% to 28%.

FDA endorsed the medication back in April, but GW couldn’t sell it. The reason is the DEA has regarded cannabis a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, LSD, and cocaine. It means it is considered to have “no currently accepted restorative use and a high potential for abuse.” Now, Epidiolex specifically — however not CBD or cannabis — is Schedule V. “The DEA is stating, ‘if you’ve satisfied FDA, you’ve satisfied us,’” says Andrew Ittleman, a partner of the law firm Fuerst Ittleman David and Joseph. It’s appearing “considerable amount of deference” to the FDA.

The Cooperation of DEA with Researchers:
The Department for Drug Enforcement (DEA) says it will work with the researchers to help them in their research. Marijuana and CBD got from cannabis stay unlawful in the United States except if they are in items endorsed by the FDA, for example, Epidiolex. Researchers are conducting more research into the medical benefits of cannabis.

“DEA will keep on supporting sound and logical research that advances legitimate therapeutic uses for FDA-approved components of cannabis, consistent with the federal law,” said Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a written proclamation. “DEA is focused on proceeding to work with our federal partners to look for approaches to make the procedure for research progressively proficient and effective.” The greatest unknown is how insurance agencies will choose to cover Epidiolex.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trials required for FDA endorsement just covered two rare types of epilepsy—Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Around 50,000 patients are suffered by these two diseases. However, there is evidence that Epidiolex could help with many distinctive kinds of seizures and epilepsy syndromes.

Without a doubt, 66% of the 1,756 patients who have attempted Epidiolex in the previous five years didn’t have Dravet or LGS. Epidiolex demand was so high among medication inert patients like Sam that GW permitted neurologists at almost four dozen hospitals that weren’t a part of the formal trials to direct their own so-called open-label trials. It helped GW to study more about how Epidiolex functioned in a more extensive population. It allowed many sick patients to gain access to medication that may help them.

That parallel research should make it simpler for specialists to suggest the medication for different diseases, a training known as “prescribing off label.”

To conclude, the expectation among CBD advocates is that the FDA’s endorsement could goad more investigation into medicinal cannabis items, however, weed itself stays illicit.

Although therapeutic or medical cannabis is accessible in about half of U.S. states. But federal regulations still characterize CBD as a Schedule 1 medicate, which implies it has no therapeutic value however it has a high potential for abuse since it is a chemical component of the cannabis plant.