The EU has approved for the first time the use of a medicinal cannabis product aimed at patients with two rare, but severe, forms of childhood epilepsy.
Doctors can prescribe Epidyolex – an oral solution of cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant – if they think it will help sufferers.
It has been approved for use in the UK and other European countries, but the NHS does not currently recommend it.
But some parents want alternatives that contain a component not in this drug.
Last month, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence made an initial decision not to recommend prescribing Epidyolex, due to lack of evidence of long-term effectiveness.
Final guidance is due later this year.
What is Epidyolex?
The drug does not contain any of the psycho-active component of cannabis, a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some parents, who have travelled to the Netherlands to buy cannabis medicines, feel the treatment will not help many children because it does not contain THC, which they argue has helped their children.
Epidyolex has been approved as a treatment option for children as young as two with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome – difficult-to-treat conditions that can cause multiple seizures a day.
The medication, developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, will be used in combination with another epilepsy medication called clobazam.
READ MORE: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49795260