Preclinical safety and efficacy of cannabidivarin for early life seizures.

Neuropharmacology

“A significant proportion of neonatal and childhood seizures are poorly controlled by existing anti-seizure drugs (ASDs), likely due to prominent differences in ionic homeostasis and network connectivity between the immature and mature brain. In addition to the poor efficacy of current ASDs, many induce apoptosis, impair synaptic development, and produce behavioral deficits when given during early postnatal development.

There is growing interest in new targets, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and its propyl analog cannabidivarin (CBDV) for early life indications. While CBD was recently approved for treatment of refractory childhood epilepsies, little is known about the efficacy or safety of CBDV.

Here, we addressed this gap through a systematic evaluation of CBDV against multiple seizure models in postnatal day (P) 10 and 20 animals. We also evaluated the impact of CBDV on acute neurotoxicity in immature rats.

CBDV (50-200 mg/kg) displayed an age and model-specific profile of anticonvulsant action.

Finally, CBDV treatment generally avoided induction of neuronal degeneration in immature rats.

Together, the efficacy and safety profile of CBDV suggest it may have therapeutic value for early life seizures.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30633929

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390818306786?via%3Dihub

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Epidiolex (Cannabidiol): A New Hope for Patients With Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes.

 SAGE Journals

“OBJECTIVE: To review the efficacy, safety, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of pure, plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD; Epidiolex) in the treatment of Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).

DATA SYNTHESIS: Pure, plant-based CBD is a pharmaceutical grade extract that exhibits clinically significant antiseizure properties, with a hypothesized multimodal mechanism of action. In the GWPCARE trial series, CBD displayed superior efficacy in reducing key seizure frequencies (convulsive seizures in DS; drop seizures in LGS) by 17% to 23% compared with placebo as adjunctive therapy to standard antiepileptic drugs in patients 2 years of age and older. Common adverse effects were somnolence, diarrhea, and elevated hepatic transaminases. Noteworthy drug-drug interactions included clobazam, valproates, and significant inducers/inhibitors of CYP2C19 and 3A4 enzymes.

Relevance to Patient Care and Clinical Practice: A discussion regarding CBD dosing, administration, adverse effects, monitoring parameters, and interactions is provided to guide clinicians. CBD offers patients with DS and LGS a new treatment option for refractory seizures.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first cannabis-derived medication with approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. This CBD formulation significantly reduces seizures as an adjunct to standard antiepileptic therapies in patients ≥2 years old with DS and LGS and is well tolerated.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30616356

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1060028018822124?journalCode=aopd

“Why marijuana is headed for the mainstream. The credibility of cannabis as a source of a legitimate pharmaceutical ingredient in prescription medications took a major step forward in 2018 when the FDA approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for two types of severe seizures. Epidiolex was a stellar candidate for approval. It reduced convulsive seizures by about 40% and has a good safety profile.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30620324

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Successful use of pure cannabidiol for the treatment of super-refractory status epilepticus.

Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports

“We present the case of a child with long-standing, super-refractory status epilepticus (SRSE) who manifested prompt and complete resolution of SRSE upon exposure to pure cannabidiol. SRSE emerged in the context of remote suspected encephalitis with previously well-controlled epilepsy. We discuss the extent to which response may be specifically attributed to cannabidiol, with consideration and discussion of multiple potential drug-drug interactions. Based on this case, we propose that adjunctive cannabidiol be considered in the treatment of SRSE.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30596011

“Adjunctive cannabidiol may be effective in the treatment of super refractory status epilepticus. Given the paucity of evidence-based therapies for SRSE as well as the prompt and enduring response that accompanied the adjunctive administration of CBD in this patient, CBD should be a consideration in the treatment of SRSE.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213323218300513?via%3Dihub

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Cannabidiol reduces seizures and associated behavioral comorbidities in a range of animal seizure and epilepsy models.

Epilepsia banner

“Epilepsy is a progressive neurological disease characterized by recurrent seizures and behavioral comorbidities. We investigated the antiseizure effect of cannabidiol (CBD) in a battery of acute seizure models. Additionally, we defined the disease-modifying potential of chronic oral administration of CBD on associated comorbidities in the reduced intensity status epilepticus-spontaneous recurrent seizures (RISE-SRS) model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

RESULTS:

CBD was effective in a battery of acute seizure models in both mice and rats following intraperitoneal administration. In the pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus rat model, CBD attenuated maximum seizure severity following intravenous administration, further demonstrating CBD’s acute antiseizure efficacy in this rat model. We established that oral CBD attenuated the time-dependent increase in seizure burden and improved TLE-associated motor comorbidities of epileptic rats in the RISE-SRS model without affecting gait. Chronic administration of CBD after the onset of SRS ameliorated reference memory and working memory errors of epileptic animals in a spatial learning and memory task.

SIGNIFICANCE:

The present study illustrates that CBD is a well-tolerated and effective antiseizure agent and illustrates a potential disease-modifying effect of CBD on reducing both seizure burden and associated comorbidities well after the onset of symptomatic seizures in a model of TLE.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30588604

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/epi.14629

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Long-term cannabidiol treatment in patients with Dravet syndrome: An open-label extension trial.

Epilepsia banner

“Add-on cannabidiol (CBD) significantly reduced seizures associated with Dravet syndrome (DS) in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: GWPCARE1 Part B (NCT02091375). Patients who completed GWPCARE1 Part A (NCT02091206) or Part B, or a second placebo-controlled trial, GWPCARE2 (NCT02224703), were invited to enroll in a long-term open-label extension trial, GWPCARE5 (NCT02224573). We present an interim analysis of the safety, efficacy, and patient-reported outcomes from GWPCARE5.

METHODS:

Patients received a pharmaceutical formulation of highly purified CBD in oral solution (100 mg/mL), titrated from 2.5 to 20 mg/kg/d over a 2-week period, with their existing medications. Based on response and tolerance, CBD could be reduced or increased up to 30 mg/kg/d.

RESULTS:

By November 2016, a total of 278 patients had completed the original randomized trials, and 264 (95%) enrolled in this open-label extension. Median treatment duration was 274 days (range 1-512) with a mean modal dose of 21 mg/kg/d, and patients received a median of 3 concomitant antiepileptic medications. Adverse events (AEs) occurred in 93.2% of patients and were mostly mild (36.7%) or moderate (39.0%). Commonly reported AEs were diarrhea (34.5%), pyrexia (27.3%), decreased appetite (25.4%), and somnolence (24.6%). Seventeen patients (6.4%) discontinued due to AEs. Twenty-two of the 128 patients from GWPCARE1 (17.2%), all taking valproic acid, had liver transaminase elevations ≥3 times the upper limit of normal. In patients from GWPCARE1 Part B, the median reduction from baseline in monthly seizure frequency assessed in 12-week periods up to week 48 ranged from 38% to 44% for convulsive seizures and 39% to 51% for total seizures. After 48 weeks of treatment, 85% of patients/caregivers reported improvement in the patient’s overall condition on the Subject/Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale.

SIGNIFICANCE:

This trial shows that long-term CBD treatment had an acceptable safety profile and led to sustained, clinically meaningful reductions in seizure frequency in patients with treatment-resistant DS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30582156

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/epi.14628

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Cannabis-based products for pediatric epilepsy: A systematic review.

Epilepsia banner

“Evidence from high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggests that cannabidiol probably reduces seizures among children with drug-resistant epilepsy (moderate certainty).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30515765 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/epi.14608

“Phytocannabinoids produce anticonvulsant effects through the endocannabinoid system, with few adverse effects.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25475762

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Emerging drugs for the treatment of Dravet syndrome.

Publication Cover

“Dravet syndrome (DS) is an early-onset genetic developmental epileptic encephalopathy characterized by multiple seizure types which are refractory to antiseizure medication. There is an unmet need for effective and tolerable drugs to control different seizure types in DS types, with the aim of improving quality of life and preventing neurological impairment.

Areas covered: Narrative review of efficacy and tolerability of fenfluramine, cannabidiol (CBD), verapamil and modulators of serotonin signaling pathways (lorcaserin or trazodone) in the treatment of DS.

Expert Opinion/Commentary: A recent large randomized controlled-trial has shown that CBD is effective in the treatment of DS; preliminary data from the placebo-controlled trial on fenfluramine are also promising. Further studies are definitely required to evaluate the role of verapamil and modulators of serotonin signaling in DS. At present, drugs used to treat seizures in DS treat the symptoms of epilepsy rather than its cause(s). Future research should focus on elucidating the natural history of DS and whether appropriate treatment can have a beneficial impact on its disease course. A multidisciplinary, individualized approach to care of DS patients is required.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30482063

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14728214.2018.1552937?journalCode=iemd20

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The Highs and Lows of the Endocannabinoid System—Another Piece to the Epilepsy Puzzle?

American Epilepsy Society

“Cannabis extracts have been used for the treatment of epilepsy for centuries.

Yet, until recently, this empirical use was not linked to a known mechanism of action. Of the two main and most frequently investigated compounds derived from the cannabis plant, the mechanism of action of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is relatively clear and well documented (via CB1R distributed mainly centrally and CB2R distributed mainly peripherally).

The components of endocannabinoid system (ECS) are omnipresent in our bodies and have very divergent roles. Modulating ECS may have therapeutic potential in many human maladies, including psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or schizophrenia), neurologic conditions, including epilepsy and neurodegenerative processes, diabetes and its complications, obesity, pain management, cancer treatment, graft versus host disease, treatment of chemotherapy side effects, and so on. The list is long, and it is constantly growing.

We investigated changes in the endocannabinoid system and glucose metabolism during temporal lobe epileptogenesis.

This study provides unique evidence that the CB1R is dynamically and progressively involved from the start of mesial temporal lobe epileptogenesis.”

http://epilepsycurrents.org/doi/10.5698/1535-7597.18.5.315

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Long-Term Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Cannabidiol in Children with Refractory Epilepsy: Results from an Expanded Access Program in the US.

“Purified cannabidiol is a new antiepileptic drug that has recently been approved for use in patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, but most published studies have not extended beyond 12-16 weeks.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety, tolerability, and efficacy of cannabidiol in children with epilepsy.

 

Twenty-six children were enrolled. Most had genetic epilepsies with daily or weekly seizures and multiple seizure types. All were refractory to prior antiepileptic drugs (range 4-11, mean 7), and were taking two antiepileptic drugs on average. Duration of therapy ranged from 4 to 53 months (mean 21 months). Adverse events were reported in 21 patients (80.8%), including reduced appetite in ten (38.4%), diarrhea in nine (34.6%), and weight loss in eight (30.7%). Four (15.4%) had changes in antiepileptic drug concentrations and three had elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels when cannabidiol was administered together with valproate. Serious adverse events, reported in six patients (23.1%), included status epilepticus in three, catatonia in two, and hypoalbuminemia in one. Fifteen patients (57.7%) discontinued cannabidiol for lack of efficacy, one because of status epilepticus, and one for severe weight loss. The retention rate declined rapidly in the first 6 months and more gradually thereafter. At 24 months, the number of patients continuing cannabidiol as adjunctive therapy was nine of the original 26 (34.6%). Of these patients, seven (26.9%) had a sustained > 50% reduction in motor seizures, including three (11.5%) who remain seizure free.

CONCLUSION:

Over a 4-year period, cannabidiol was effective in 26.9% of children with otherwise refractory epilepsy. It was well tolerated in about 20% of patients, but 80.8% had adverse events, including 23.1% with serious adverse events. Decreased appetite and diarrhea were frequent along with weight loss that became evident only later in the treatment.”

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