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N Engl J Med. 2017 May 25;376(21):2011-2020. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1611618.

Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome.

Author information

1
From the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York (O.D.); the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (J.H.C.) and GW Pharmaceuticals (S.W.) - both in London; Lurie Children's Epilepsy Center, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago (L.L.); the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia (E.M.); Miami Children's Hospital, Miami (I.M.); Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris (R.N.); Florey Institute, Austin Health and Royal Children's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (I.E.S.); and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (E.A.T.).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHODS:

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 120 children and young adults with the Dravet syndrome and drug-resistant seizures to receive either cannabidiol oral solution at a dose of 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or placebo, in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment. The primary end point was the change in convulsive-seizure frequency over a 14-week treatment period, as compared with a 4-week baseline period.

RESULTS:

The median frequency of convulsive seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 with cannabidiol, as compared with a decrease from 14.9 to 14.1 with placebo (adjusted median difference between the cannabidiol group and the placebo group in change in seizure frequency, -22.8 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -41.1 to -5.4; P=0.01). The percentage of patients who had at least a 50% reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency was 43% with cannabidiol and 27% with placebo (odds ratio, 2.00; 95% CI, 0.93 to 4.30; P=0.08). The patient's overall condition improved by at least one category on the seven-category Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale in 62% of the cannabidiol group as compared with 34% of the placebo group (P=0.02). The frequency of total seizures of all types was significantly reduced with cannabidiol (P=0.03), but there was no significant reduction in nonconvulsive seizures. The percentage of patients who became seizure-free was 5% with cannabidiol and 0% with placebo (P=0.08). Adverse events that occurred more frequently in the cannabidiol group than in the placebo group included diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, pyrexia, somnolence, and abnormal results on liver-function tests. There were more withdrawals from the trial in the cannabidiol group.

CONCLUSIONS:

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. (Funded by GW Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02091375 .).

PMID:
28538134
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa1611618
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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