Epidiolex was the first cannabis-based drug approved in the United States. It was first recommended for FDA approval by an advisory committee in April of 2018. In June of this year, It was, officially approved by the FDA to treat Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. Both of these rare conditions cause seizures, and neither responded well to traditional treatments.
Necessities for Prescription
With the FDA approval in June, we had new hope for patients. However, it wasn’t until this month (November 2018) that Epidiolex received classification as a Schedule V substance, a necessity for its prescription use. That means that the drug can now be prescribed in all 50 states.
Not only can it be prescribed to Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome patients, it can also legally be used off-label. Epidiolex is approved for individuals over two years old which is great because these two syndromes are normally diagnosed when the patient is under the age of five.
A Miracle Drug?
Researchers make it clear that this drug doesn’t cure all. Its not a magic pill that alleviates all suffering. In fact, it was found to only be effective in reducing convulsive seizures for about a quarter of patients. For some of these individuals, it made a huge difference in their quality of life. Unfortunately, for some it only had a small effect. However, considering the fact that there aren’t many treatment options for these conditions currently on the market at all, this development is promising.
Additionally, researchers think that the side effects for this drug will be much less severe than those for drugs already on the market.
This is only the beginning of cannabis research, however at this point it’s naïve to dismiss its potential. For these two conditions alone 3 thorough clinical trials were conducted and it is clear Epidiolex is effective.
So How Much Does it Cost?
Epidiolex is listed as 32,500 a year. It sounds crazy but that number is in line with other seizure medications on the market. Fortunately, it is expected to be covered by most insurance companies.
There’s still a lot more research to be done concerning what other conditions cannabis may benefit, but the results for these two syndromes are certainly celebratory.
You can read more about this new prescription medication and how it may benefit patients by clicking here.