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Outcomes from a Spanish Expanded Access Program on cannabidiol treatment in pediatric and adult patients with epilepsy

Published:October 29, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2022.108958

      Highlights

      • Cannabidiol is a licensed antiseizure medication for specific rare epilepsies.
      • Outcomes of an expanded access program were evaluated in one hundred and two patients.
      • Mean treatment retention time was 10.3 months.
      • The median number of total seizures per month reduced by 47.6%.
      • Adverse events occurred in 66.7% of the evaluated population.

      Abstract

      Aim

      To evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of cannabidiol (CBD) in patients with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, including Dravet syndrome (DS), and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), in a Spanish Expanded Access Program (EAP).

      Methods

      This was a multicenter, retrospective, observational study of patients treated with purified CBD in 14 hospitals across Spain. Patients with (1) written informed consent and (2) at least 6 months follow-up before the closure of the database were included. Primary effectiveness endpoints included reductions (100 %, ≥75 %, ≥50 %, ≥25 %, or 0 %) or worsening in seizure frequency (all seizure types and most disabling seizures) at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month visits and at the last visit, and median relative seizure reduction between baseline and last visit. Secondary effectiveness endpoints included retention rate, reduction in seizure severity, status epilepticus, healthcare utilization, and quality of life. Primary safety endpoints included rates of adverse events (AEs) and AEs leading to discontinuation.

      Results

      One hundred and two patients (DS 12 %; LGS 59 %; other epilepsy syndromes 29 %) with a mean age of 15.9 years were enrolled. Patients were highly refractory to antiseizure medications (ASMs); mean number of prior failed ASMs was 7.5 (SD 3.7). The mean CBD dose was 13.0 mg/kg/day at the last visit. The proportion of patients with ≥50 % reduction in the total number of seizures from baseline was 44.9 % at 6 months and 38.9 % at 12 months. The median number of total seizures per month reduced by 47.6 % from baseline to the last visit. At 12 months, seizure severity was lower in 33/54 patients (61.1 %) and unchanged in 17/54 patients (31.5 %). Quality of life, based on the CAVE scale, increased from a mean score of 17.9 ± 4.7 (n = 54) at baseline to 21.7 ± 5.5 (n = 51) at the last patient visit (21.2 % improvement). The mean treatment retention time was 10.3 months. There were no statistically significant changes in the number of status epilepticus episodes, but lower healthcare utilization was observed. Adverse events occurred in sixty-eight patients (66.7 %), and the most common were somnolence (34.3 %) and diarrhea (12.7 %). Cannabidiol was discontinued exclusively due to AEs in 7.8 % of patients, increasing to 25.5 % when both lack of efficacy and AEs were considered together.

      Conclusions

      Cannabidiol demonstrated promising effectiveness and tolerability in patients with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies taking part in a Spanish EAP.

      Keywords

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