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. 2018 Aug;59(8):1540-1548.
doi: 10.1111/epi.14477. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

Long-term Safety and Treatment Effects of Cannabidiol in Children and Adults With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsies: Expanded Access Program Results

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Free PMC article

Long-term Safety and Treatment Effects of Cannabidiol in Children and Adults With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsies: Expanded Access Program Results

Jerzy P Szaflarski et al. Epilepsia. .
Free PMC article


Objective: Since 2014, cannabidiol (CBD) has been administered to patients with treatment-resistant epilepsies (TREs) in an ongoing expanded-access program (EAP). We report interim results on the safety and efficacy of CBD in EAP patients treated through December 2016.

Methods: Twenty-five US-based EAP sites enrolling patients with TRE taking stable doses of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) at baseline were included. During the 4-week baseline period, parents/caregivers kept diaries of all countable seizure types. Patients received oral CBD starting at 2-10 mg/kg/d, titrated to a maximum dose of 25-50 mg/kg/d. Patient visits were every 2-4 weeks through 16 weeks and every 2-12 weeks thereafter. Efficacy endpoints included the percentage change from baseline in median monthly convulsive and total seizure frequency, and percentage of patients with ≥50%, ≥75%, and 100% reductions in seizures vs baseline. Data were analyzed descriptively for the efficacy analysis set and using the last-observation-carried-forward method to account for missing data. Adverse events (AEs) were documented at each visit.

Results: Of 607 patients in the safety dataset, 146 (24%) withdrew; the most common reasons were lack of efficacy (89 [15%]) and AEs (32 [5%]). Mean age was 13 years (range, 0.4-62). Median number of concomitant AEDs was 3 (range, 0-10). Median CBD dose was 25 mg/kg/d; median treatment duration was 48 weeks. Add-on CBD reduced median monthly convulsive seizures by 51% and total seizures by 48% at 12 weeks; reductions were similar through 96 weeks. Proportion of patients with ≥50%, ≥75%, and 100% reductions in convulsive seizures were 52%, 31%, and 11%, respectively, at 12 weeks, with similar rates through 96 weeks. CBD was generally well tolerated; most common AEs were diarrhea (29%) and somnolence (22%).

Significance: Results from this ongoing EAP support previous observational and clinical trial data showing that add-on CBD may be an efficacious long-term treatment option for TRE.

Keywords: cannabidiol; efficacy; expanded access program; seizures; tolerability; treatment-resistant epilepsy.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Patient disposition
Figure 2
Figure 2
Percentage reduction from baseline in convulsive and total* seizures for (A) efficacy analysis set and (B) LOCF analysis. *Total seizures included convulsive seizures (ie, clonic, tonic, tonic–clonic, atonic, focal secondary generalized) and nonconvulsive seizures (ie, myoclonic, absence, myoclonic‐absence, focal with and without impaired consciousness). LOCF, last‐observation‐carried‐forward
Figure 3
Figure 3
Treatment response rates for the (A) efficacy analysis set and (B) LOCF analysis. LOCF, last‐observation‐carried‐forward

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