A Federal Advisory Committee voted unanimously in favor of a marijuana-based drug that helps children with severe epilepsy. On Thursday, the 13-member panel, including the doctor of San Jose, Cavide, recommended the active ingredient Epidiolex. It was developed by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The drug contains cannabidiol (CBD), a component of cannabis that is exempt from THC.
Terri Carricker from Austin said the drug has improved the quality of life of her 15-year-old daughter. Carricker's daughter Catherine has been part of the company's clinical trial for several years.
"We saw a 50 percent reduction in seizure numbers, and we also saw a reduction in the severity of their seizures, the duration of the seizures, and the intensity of them," said Carricker. "Unfortunately, she still has seizures every day, so it's not enough."
One form of CBD is available in pharmacies in Texas, but patients have to pay for the drug out of pocket. Austin-based Debbie Tolany said she pays about $ 900 a month. Her son, 1
"Since the beginning of CBD, [his seizures] have drastically reduced, I would say more than half, and his school has reported that its aggressive episodes have been reduced by two thirds," Tolany notes. "We really feel it benefits all its states and we've seen an improvement in its creatinine level."
Dr. Linda Leary, a pediatric neurologist at UT Health-San Antonio, said that if the FDA approves Epidiolex, it would be the first marijuana-based drug to be tested properly. It would also be covered under insurance.
"The ones in the pharmacies were not studied, so they were not looked at," Leary said. "Our hope is that with FDA approval, we have a product that has been well studied, where we know exactly what to expect and where we need to know how to dose it."
The FDA is expected to make a final decision in June. Carriker said she hopes the agency will approve the drug and urge the Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule CBD. Currently, marijuana is considered illegal at the federal level. It falls under the list 1, the same category as cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and heroin.
"One of their government agencies now says, 'Yes, in fact, some of the cannabis plant is useful for medical purposes.' So I do not know how they do not go through this and reschedule the facility for medical research and manufacturing "I'm curious to see what happens to it."  © 2018 KENS