Cannabis-based medicines approved on NHS for first time

13 Novembre, 2019, 12:52 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • NICE recommends first cannabis-based medicines for use on the NHS

The National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care also recommended offering a four-week trial of an oral cannabis-based spray. for the treatment of muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, if other treatments have had no effect.

The recommendation is for the drug in combination with clobazam, meant to treat Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age and older.

Charities have welcomed the move, although some campaigners who have been fighting for access to the drugs have said it does not go far enough. This, in turn, forced numerous families to buy the drugs from overseas and bring them into the United Kingdom illegally.

This cannabis oil approval represents the first-time any plant-derived cannabis-based medicine has been recommended by NICE for use on the NHS and is a small step forward for patients who need medical cannabis.

So, the prescription of Epidyolex, which is an oral solution that contains cannabidiol (CBD), can help thousands of children with the two rare types of epilepsy.

"Epidiolex in the U.S. is still ramping nicely for Dravet Syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), and physicians are getting incrementally more comfortable with off-label usage in other indications", the analysts wrote.

It determined as much as 9,000 individuals with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes and 10,000 MS victims might be prescribed the 2 medicine.

NICE has also included Sativex in a guideline on cannabis-based medicinal products, making the same recommendation.

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Previous years saw regular calls for clarity about medicinal cannabis within the medical community.

She said Nice is wholly focused on evidence from randomised control trials, but medical cannabis is not always suited to these trials.

But he said there were many thousands of people with other complex and treatment-resistant epilepsies who could potentially benefit from cannabis-based medicines.

Chris Tovey, chief operating officer at GW Pharmaceuticals, said NICE's decision to recommend Epidyolex and Sativex for reimbursement was "momentus". The drug was approved for use within NHS Wales in 2014. "Many families come to us asking about the potential of cannabis-based medicines, particularly CBD and we are thrilled that one is now available on the NHS".

Genevieve Edwards, the director of external affairs at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a British charity, said that the group had been campaigning for access to the spray "for years", but she criticized the institute's guidelines as not going far enough.

CBMPs, be that plant preparations or extracts, or synthetic cannabinoids, have not been recommended for treatment of chronic pain, unless as part of a clinical trial.

The families of two children, Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley - both of whom have severe epilepsy, have repeatedly campaigned for easier access to cannabis medicines in the UK.

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