“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic disorders of the brain affecting around 70 million people worldwide. Treatment is mainly symptomatic, and most patients achieve long-term seizure control. Up to one-third of the affected subjects, however, are resistant to anticonvulsant therapy.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) are severe, refractory epilepsy syndromes with onset in early childhood. Currently available interventions fail to control seizures in most cases, and there remains the need to identify new treatments.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the first in a new class of antiepileptic drugs. It is a major chemical of the cannabis plant, which has antiseizure properties in absence of psychoactive effects.
This article provides a critical review of the pharmacology of CBD and the most recent clinical studies that evaluated its efficacy and safety as adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and DS.”
“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.
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.”
“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
“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).
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.
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.”
“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.”
“The Dravet syndrome is a complex childhood epilepsy disorder that is associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate. We studied cannabidiol for the treatment of drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome. Among patients with the Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than placebo and was associated with higher rates of adverse events. The importance of this study is that, unlike most other antiseizure medication trials, it assesses a treatment in a specific epilepsy syndrome with a known genetic basis. CBD resulted in a significant decrease of convulsive seizures and seizures of all types in Dravet syndrome, a pharmacoresistant epilepsy known to be associated with high mortality rates.” http://epilepsycurrents.org/doi/10.5698/1535-75220.127.116.111?code=amep-site
“Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main nonpsychoactive component of the cannabis plant. It has been associated with antiseizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antipsychotic effects.
PTL101 is an oral gelatin matrix pellets technology-based formulation containing highly purified CBD embedded in seamless gelatin matrix beadlets. Study objectives were to evaluate the safety and tolerability of PTL101 containing 10 and 100 mg CBD, following single administrations to healthy volunteers and to compare the pharmacokinetic profiles and relative bioavailability of CBD with Sativex oromucosal spray (the reference product) in a randomized, crossover study design.
Administration of PTL101 containing 10 CBD, led to a 1.7-fold higher Cmax and 1.3-fold higher AUC compared with the oromucosal spray. Tmax following both modes of delivery was 3-3.5 hours postdosing. CBD exhibited about a 1-hour lag in absorption when delivered via PTL101. A 10-fold increase in the dose resulted in an ∼15-fold increase in Cmax and AUC. Bioavailability of CBD in the 10-mg PTL101 dose was 134% relative to the reference spray.
PTL101 is a pharmaceutical-grade, user-friendly oral formulation that demonstrated safe and efficient delivery of CBD and therefore could be an attractive candidate for therapeutic indications.”
“The anticonvulsant effect of cannabinoid compound has been shown in various models of seizure. On the other hand, there are controversial findings about the role of large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels in the pathogenesis of epilepsy. Also, there is no data regarding the effect of co-administration of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor agonists and BK channels antagonists in the acute models of seizure in mice.
In this study, the effect of arachidonyl-2′-chloroethylamide (ACEA), a CB1 receptor agonist, and a BK channel antagonist, paxilline, either alone or in combination was investigated.
Both pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and maximal electroshock (MES) acute models of seizure were used to evaluate the protective effects of drugs. Mice were randomly selected in different groups: (i) control group; (ii) groups that received different doses of either paxilline or ACEA; and (iii) groups that received combinations of ACEA and paxillin at different doses. In MES model, prevention of hindlimb tonic extension (HLTE) was considered as protective effect. In PTZ model, the required dose of PTZ (mg/kg) to induce tonic-clonic seizure with loss of righting reflex was considered as seizure threshold. In PTZ model, while administration of ACEA per se (5 and 10 mg/kg) caused protective effect against seizure; however, co-administration of ACEA and ineffective doses of paxilline attenuated the antiseizure effects of paxilline. In MES model, while pretreatment by ACEA showed protective effects against seizure; however, co-administration of paxilline and ACEA caused an antagonistic interaction for their antiseizure properties.
Our results showed a protective effect of ACEA in both PTZ and MES acute models of seizure. This effect was attenuated by co-administration with paxilline, suggesting the involvement of BK channels in antiseizure activity of ACEA.”
Design: Multinational double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. Patients randomised in 1:1 ratio to receive cannabidiol or placebo, in addition to stable antiepileptic treatment regime.
Setting: Twenty-three centres in Europe and USA.
Patients: Patients aged 2 years to 18 years with established diagnosis of Dravet syndrome having at least four convulsive seizures during the 28-day baseline period despite regular antiepileptic medication.
Intervention: Adjunctive cannabidiol or placebo oral solution at 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
Primary outcome: Percentage change in median frequency of convulsive seizures per month.
Follow-up period: Outcome measured over a 14-week treatment period in comparison to a 4-week baseline period.
Patient follow-up: One hundred and eight (90%) completed the trial: 85% (52/61) in the cannabidiol group and …”
“Several antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), about 25, are currently clinically available for the treatment of patients with epilepsy. Despite this armamentarium and the many recently introduced AEDs, no major advances have been achieved considering the number of drug resistant patients, while many benefits have been indeed obtained for other clinical outcomes (e.g. better tolerability, less interactions).
Cannabinoids have long been studied for their potential therapeutical use and more recently phytocannabinoids have been considered a valuable tool for the treatment of several neurological disorders including epilepsy.
Among this wide class, the most studied is cannabidiol (CBD) considering its lack of psychotropic effects and its anticonvulsant properties.
Several preclinical studies have tried to understand the mechanism of action of CBD, which still remains largely not understood.
CBD has shown significant anticonvulsant effects mainly in acute animal models of seizures; beneficial effects were reported also in animal models of epileptogenesis and chronic models of epilepsy,
There is indeed sufficient supporting data for clinical development and important antiepileptic effects and the currently ongoing clinical studies will permit the real usefulness of CBD and possibly other cannabinoids.
Undoubtedly, several issues also need to be addressed in the next future (e.g. better pharmacokinetic profiling). Finally, shading light on the mechanism of action and the study of other cannabinoids might represent an advantage for future developments.”