Cannabidiol-enriched oil for adult patients with drug-resistant epilepsy: Prospective clinical and electrophysiological study

Epilepsia. 2024 May 29. doi: 10.1111/epi.18025. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: Cannabidiol-enriched oil (CBDO) is being used increasingly to improve seizure control in adult patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), despite the lack of large-scale studies supporting its efficacy in this patient population. We aimed to assess the effects of add-on CBDO on seizure frequency as well as on gait, cognitive, affective, and sleep-quality metrics, and to explore the electrophysiological changes in responder and non-responder DRE patients treated with add-on CBDO.

Methods: We prospectively recruited adult DRE patients who were treated with add-on CBDO. Patients were evaluated prior to treatment and following 4 weeks of a maintenance daily dose of ≈260 mg CBD and ≈12 mg Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The outcome measures included seizure response to CBDO (defined as ≥50% decrease in seizures compared to pre-CBDO baseline), gait testing, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and sleep-quality questionnaire assessments. Patients underwent electroencephalography (EEG) recording during rest as well as event-related potentials (ERPs) during visual Go/NoGo task while sitting and while walking.

Results: Nineteen patients were recruited, of which 16 finished pre- and post-CBDO assessments. Seven patients (43.75%) were responders demonstrating an average reduction of 82.4% in seizures, and nine patients (56.25%) were non-responders with an average seizure increase of 30.1%. No differences in demographics and clinical parameters were found between responders and non-responders at baseline. However, responders demonstrated better performance in the dual-task walking post-treatment (p = .015), and correlation between increase in MoCA and seizure reduction (r = .810, p = .027). Post-CBDO P300 amplitude was lower during No/Go-sitting in non-responders (p = .028) and during No/Go-walking in responders (p = .068).

Significance: CBDO treatment can reduce seizures in a subset of patients with DRE, but could aggravate seizure control in a minority of patients; yet we found no specific baseline clinical or electrophysiological characteristics that are associated with response to CBDO. However, changes in ERPs in response to treatment could be a promising direction to better identify patients who could benefit from CBDO treatment.

Keywords: EEG; cannabidiol; drug‐resistant epilepsy; event‐related potential; gait.

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