Update: The FDA Approves First Cannabinoid Treatment for Epilepsy

Update (26/06/2018): The FDA has approved GW Pharmaceutical’s drug Epidiolex in two severe forms of epilepsy. The approval makes Epidolex the first prescription drug made from highly purified cannabidiol to reach the market.


Published on 20/04/2018

GW Pharmaceuticals has received a unanimous recommendation from the FDA Advisory Committee Meeting supporting the approval of what could soon be the first cannabinoid-based drug, to treat seizures in two severe forms of epilepsy. 

The FDA may soon approve the first medicine based on a cannabinoid to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. An FDA committee specialized in drugs for the nervous system has unanimously recommended that the FDA approves Epidiolex, a cannabinoid-based drug developed by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals. It is a rare feat that the 13 experts agree to recommend a new treatment.

Epidiolex is an oral purified solution of cannabidiol — one of the hundreds of cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis plants. The drug has shown to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in patients as young as 2 years old with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. According to GW, more than 90% of patients with these rare forms of epilepsy have multiple seizures a day, and many do not respond to standard epilepsy treatments.

Analysts have predicted that Epidiolex has a potential to become a blockbuster, with sales expected to reach from close to $1Bn to up to $2Bn.


Image via Vladkk /Shutterstock

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