Report: CBD Interacts with Anti-Epileptic Drugs

New research published in Epilepsiaa journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used anti-epileptic drugs. It is important for clinicians to consider such drug interactions during treatment of complex conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound developed from the cannabis plant, is being studied as a potential anticonvulsant, and it has demonstrated effectiveness in animal models of epilepsy and in humans. An ongoing open label study (Expanded Access Program) conducted by investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is testing the potential of CBD as a therapy for children and adults with difficult to control epilepsy. The study includes 39 adults and 42 children, all of whom receive CBD.

Because all of the participants are also taking other seizure drugs while they are receiving the investigational therapy, investigators checked the blood levels of their other seizure drugs to see if they changed. “With any new potential seizure medication, it is important to know if drug interactions exist and if there are labs that should be monitored while taking a specific medication,” said lead author Tyler Gaston, MD.

Dr. Gaston and her colleagues found that there were significant changes in levels of the drugs clobazam (and its active metabolite N-desmethylclobazam), topiramate, and rufinamide in both adults and children, and zonisamide and eslicarbazepine in adults only. Except for clobazam/desmethylclobazam, however, the drug levels did not change outside of the normally accepted range. In addition, adult participants in the study taking clobazam reported sedation more frequently.

Tests also showed that participants taking valproate and CBD had higher ALT and AST (liver function tests) compared with participants not taking valproate. Very high ALT and AST indicate abnormal liver function, but significant ALT and AST elevation occurred only in a mall number of participants (4 children and 1 adult), and the levels returned to normal after discontinuation of valproate and CBD.

“While the interaction between CBD and clobazam has been established in the literature, there are currently no published human data on CBD’s potential interactions with other seizure medications,” said Dr. Gaston. “However, given the open label and naturalistic follow-up design of this study, our findings will need to be confirmed under controlled conditions.”

The findings emphasize the importance of monitoring blood levels of antiepileptic drugs as well as liver function during treatment with CBD. “A perception exists that since CBD is plant based, that it is natural and safe; and while this may be mostly true, our study shows that CBD, just like other antiepileptic drugs, has interactions with other seizure drugs that patients and providers need to be aware of,” said Dr. Gaston.

 

Parents Demand Medical Marijuana for Epileptic Kids

PENNSYLVANIA: In room 716 of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 12-year-old Hannah Pallas is motionless, but for an occasional turn of her head and blink of her eyes, following a series of life-threatening seizures. On the same day, 5-year-old Sydney Michaels is down the hall in room 749, waiting to be discharged after 15 grand mal seizures within 36 hours.

Their mothers have known each other for years, though it’s a hapless coincidence caused by their daughters’ epilepsy that brings them to the pediatric unit on the same day.

The two women are part of a tenacious group of parents and national marijuana advocates demanding that politicians and state legislators legalize medical marijuana treatment for their children, whose medications have had limited success treating seizures and other severe conditions.

NY State To Hold Clinical Trials For Marijuana

NEW YORK: New York State is partnering with a British company to hold clinical trials for marijuana-based medication for children who have seizures that are resistant to their medicine.

An agreement was signed Sunday between Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration and GW Pharmaceuticals. The state Health Department and the company will develop the framework for a clinical trial for a marijuana-based drug for people under the age of 18.

It will involve Epidiolex, an investigational medication that uses cannabidiol, a marijuana extract that doesn’t get users high. It could help children with rare forms of epilepsy such as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

Medical Marijuana Refugees: ‘This Was Our Only Hope’

NEW JERSEY :  They’ve come from as far away as Australia and Canada, or as close as Oklahoma.

They are of different backgrounds and ages, but they’ve all moved to Colorado for the same thing: medical marijuana to treat their sick children.

“Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old. I had never seen a seizure before,” says her mother, Paula Lyles. “We took her to the hospital. The doctors said that would probably be the only one she’d have and sent us home.”

But when Jordan was 18 months old, the seizures began in earnest.

But she didn’t receive a diagnosis until she was nearly 11. It was Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy characterized by uncontrolled, continuous seizures. Jordan was put on a combination of three anti-seizure medications.

Utah Lawmakers Send Cannabis-Oil Bill To The House

UTAH:  A bill that would give Utah children with epilepsy access to a non-intoxicating, seizure-stopping cannabis oil cleared its first legislative hurdle Friday.

The House Law Enforcement Committee voted 8-2 to send a substitute version of HB105 to the House floor, despite lawmakers’ concerns that the oil hasn’t been tested by the Food and Drug Administration to know if it’s safe or works.

“This is a really tough decision … I understand your plight. I would do anything to help my child,” said Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, to the more than half-dozen parents who testified in favor of the bill. “But this is a bad position for the Legislature to be in, to overrule doctors and people more qualified than we are.”

Patients, Caregivers And Healthcare Providers Travel to Albany To Urge Gov. Cuomo And Senate to Pass Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation

NEW YORK:  On Monday, January 13th, dozens of patients,  families, caregivers and healthcare providers will gather in Albany for a press conference and lobby day to call upon Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act — A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino) .

The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome. Travelling from all corners of the State, they will call on the Senate to pass and the Governor to support the Compassionate Care Act – comprehensive legislation that would allow seriously ill New Yorkers access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. [Read more…]