“Four pivotal randomized placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated that adjunctive therapy with cannabidiol (CBD) improves seizure control in patients with Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
Between 47% and 68% of patients allocated to CBD treatment in these trials were receiving clobazam (CLB), which shows complex interactions with CBD resulting, in particular, in a 3.4- to 5-fold increase in plasma concentration of the active metabolite norclobazam. This raises concern as to the role played by these interactions in determining the reduction in seizure frequency in CBD-treated patients, and the question of whether CBD per se has clinically evident antiseizure effects.
We appraised available evidence on the clinical consequences of the CBD-CLB interaction, focusing on subgroup analyses of seizure outcomes in patients on and off CLB comedication in the pivotal CBD trials, as provided by the European Medicines Agency Public Assessment Report.
Evaluation of the results of individual trials clearly showed that improvement in seizure control over placebo was greater when CBD was added on to CLB than when it was added on to other medications. However, seizure control was also improved in patients off CLB, and despite the small sample size the difference vs placebo was statistically significant for the 10 mg/kg/d dose in one of the two LGS trials.
Stronger evidence for an antiseizure effect of CBD independent of an interaction with CLB emerges from meta-analyses of seizure outcomes in the pooled population of LGS and DS patients not receiving CLB comedication.
Although these results need to be interpreted taking into account methodological limitations, they provide the best clinical evidence to date that CBD exerts therapeutic effects in patients with epilepsy that are independent of its interaction with CLB. Greater antiseizure effects, and a greater burden of adverse effects, are observed when CBD is combined with CLB.”