A new study from Israel has offered new evidence showing the promise offered by cannabis-derived treatments for intractable paediatric epilepsy.
Published in the medical journal Seizure, the research – led by the Sheba Medical Center – aimed to describe the experience of five paediatric epilepsy clinics treating children and adolescents diagnosed with intractable epilepsy using a regimen of medical cannabis oil.
A total of 74 patients between the ages of one and 18 were enrolled in the study, all of whom had been deemed to have intractable epilepsy after proving resistant to seven or more antiepileptic drugs. Moreover, 66 per cent of them had also failed treatment with a ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulator implantation, or both.
They all started treatment with cannabidiol-enriched medical cannabis between February and November 2014 and were treated for at least three months, with the average period being six months. Seizure frequency was assessed by parental report during clinical visits.
It was shown that cannabidiol treatment yielded a significant positive effect on seizure load, with 89 per cent of the cohort reporting a reduction in seizure frequency, with 18 per cent of them experiencing a reduction of between 75 and 100 per cent. A small minority of five patients reported an aggravation of seizures which led to withdrawal of the treatment.
Improvements in behaviour and alertness, language, communication, motor skills and sleep were all observed, while adverse reactions included somnolence, fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and irritability.
The researchers said: “The results of this multicenter study on cannabidiol treatment for intractable epilepsy in a population of children and adolescents are highly promising. Further prospective, well-designed clinical trials using enriched cannabidiol medical cannabis are warranted.”
This offers further evidence supporting the potential benefits of this emerging epilepsy treatment option.
Posted by Bob Jones
Click here for more articles about epilepsy in children.