Children in Queensland that suffer from epilepsy and have not seen much success with other drugs are now able to take part in a medical marijuana clinical trial. The State Government in 2015 announced a trial of the drug, but UK-based pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals now has allowed access to a liquid form of pure cannabidiol, Epidiolex. Health Minister Cameron Dick stated that the State Government was now asking parents of children suffering from seizures to register their children.
“Our project is driven by two things — compassion and hope,” he stated. “These children suffer from a terribly debilitating condition.”
The research team from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane is going to be in charge of the trials. Dr. Andrew Hallahan, Children’s Health Queensland’s executive director of medical services, stated that the study is not going to be random, which means that there would be no placebo. In addition, there would be an increase in dosage every few months.
“It’s really a study to examine in the first instance — tolerability — how safe it is and gets an idea of potentially its potential efficacy,” Dr. Hallahan added. “At its best, what we would have is another option for specialist doctors from pediatric neurologists to offer to help children. The initial studies that I have seen don’t indicate that it’s going to be a miraculous cure for epilepsy and all drugs have their side effects. That’s part of why we’re doing this as a proper trial to make sure we know what’s going on.”
Dr. Hallahan stated he hoped it would be effective for children that need to suffer from epilepsy.
“These are really heart-rending situations with children who may have many seizures every day, multiple medicines with lots of side effects, multiple hospitalizations,” he said. “It greatly impacts their lives and hugely impacts the lives of their families — their suffering is significant.”
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