Cannabidiol in treatment of refractory epileptic spasms: An open-label study.
Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Mar 10 ;106:106988. Epub 2020 Mar 10. PMID: 32169600
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate clinical efficacy and safety of purified pharmaceutical cannabidiol (CBD) as an adjunctive therapy in refractory childhood-onset epileptic spasms (ES).
METHODS: Nine patients with ES were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board (IRB)- and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved expanded access investigational new drug trial. Patients received plant-derived highly purified CBD in oral solution in addition to their baseline medications at an initial dosage of 5 mg/kg/day, which was increased by 5 mg/kg/day every week to an initial target dosage of 25 mg/kg/day. Seizure frequency, adverse event, and parents' subjective reports of cognitive and behavioral changes were recorded after 2 weeks and 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of CBD treatment. Responder rates (percent of patients with>50% reduction in ES frequency from baseline) were calculated. Electrographic changes were studied in relation to CBD initiation and clinical response.
RESULTS: Overall, the responder rates in 9 patients were 67%, 78%, 67%, 56%, 78%, 78%, and 78% after 2 weeks and 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of CBD treatment, respectively. Three out of nine patients (33%) were ES free after two months of treatment. Parents reported subjective improvements in cognitive and behavioral domains. Side effects, primarily drowsiness, were seen in 89% of patients (n = 8). Eight of the nine (89%) patients had electroencephalographic (EEG) studies prior to and after initiation of CBD. Three out of five patients (60%) had resolution in their hypsarrhythmia pattern.
SIGNIFICANCE: Purified pharmaceutical CBD may be an effective and safe adjunctive therapy in refractory ES and may also be associated with improvements in electrographic findings.