First FDA-approved cannabis-based drug now available in the US
Published on Nov 1, 2018
After years of hard work and research the very first cannabis-based medication has not only been approved by the FDA, but it is finally available in all 50 states in the U.S. through prescription. Epidiolex, the CBD based drug can be prescribed for two types of epileptic syndromes, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, both rare types of epilepsy that mostly appear in the first few years of childhood. The medication is eligible to be covered by insurance at a total price of $32,500 per year, on par with other FDA-approved anti-epileptic drugs. During the FDA trials the medication reduced seizures by about 25%-28% compared to the placebo. Some patients experienced major reductions, some mild, and somenot at all. While Epidiolex is a breakthough it is not a miracle cure-all. Epidiolex will also be available to be prescribed "off label", meaning a doctor can prescribe patients without the two forms of epilepsy if they see a potential it can help the patient.
"There are some people who had dramatic improvements. Many had a modest improvement, and some had no improvement. So it's not a miracle drug. It's an effective drug, and I think its side effect profile is quite good compared to other seizure drugs that we have, but it's not a miracle cure," Devinsky said.