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NHS Scotland approves first cannabis-based medicine

Cannabis-based epilepsy medicine Epidyolex has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has accepted the CBD medicine for the treatment of Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Both conditions are rare and debilitating and can cause multiple seizures per day.

Before now, patients looking to access the Epidyolex in Scotland could only do so through clinical trials or on compassionate grounds.

The medication will be used in conjunction with existing anti-convulsant Clobazam.

Clobazam which has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures for some patients, allowing them to have a better quality of life.

Professor Sameer Zuberi, consultant paediatric neurologist at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, said:

 “This decision is significant for children, and also adults, who suffer the effects of these two severe and difficult to treat epilepsies.

“Having received significant interest from patients and their families for additional treatment options over the past few years, I am glad it will soon be available on the NHS for eligible patients in Scotland.”

Clinical trials published in Epilepsia in 2015 showed that the combined therapy could cut the frequency of seizures by as much as two-thirds.

Epidyolex has been available in on the NHS in England since December 2019.

However, families across the UK are continuing to fight for better access to medical cannabis on the NHS.

Many of those forced to turn to the private sector rely on fundraising to support costly prescriptions.

Image Source: Jirapong Pnngjiam from Pixabay

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