AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Cannabidiol Reduces Seizures in Children with Severe Epilepsy

Randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial shows decline in seizures with cannabidiol in children with drug-resistant Dravet syndrome

Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial revealed that children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, had fewer seizures after taking a daily oral solution of the cannabis compound called cannabidiol, which does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Over a 14-week treatment with cannabidiol, convulsive seizures dropped from a monthly average of 12.4 to 5.9. In comparison, seizures in the placebo group decreased from a monthly average of 14.9 to 14.1. During the study, seizures stopped completely in 5 percent of patients taking cannabidiol. “Seizures in Dravet syndrome are extremely difficult to control and they can be deadly,” says study co-author Linda Laux, MD, from Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Our results are encouraging, especially considering that we don’t have any antiepileptic drugs approved for Dravet syndrome in the U.S.”

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