The National Health Service (NHS), UK has issued an approval to the two new Cannabis-based medications with several terms and conditions. Both the drugs, firstly, were examined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE issued the guidance for the medications which helped NHS to approve the medications.
The decision earned mixed reviews from various charities and the campaigners who struggled for accessing the drugs. Both the drugs are grown and developed in UK, itself.
As the approvals are finally issued, doctors will now be able to prescribe the oral solution named as Epidyolex. Epidyolex is said to be effective in treatments of two kinds of epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome which are responsible for daily formation of multiple seizures. According to the clinical trials, Epidyolex consists of cannabidiol (CBD) which helps to slash those seizures from some of the children by 40%.
Approved in September, the drug —Epidyolex— was not a ‘value for money’ thing, as per NICE. To consume the drug, a patient needed to spend over $5,000 to $10,000 per year which is too costly. After the talks with NHS, the manufacturer of Epidyolex —GW Pharmaceuticals— has decided to cut the prices so that the drugs can be affordable. According to the surveys, England has nearly 3,000 people affected with Dravet syndrome whereas over 5,000 people are carrying Lennox Gastaut syndrome.
According to Prof. Helen Cross —paediatric neurology consultant, Great Ormond Street Hospital— both the epilepsy syndromes are complex and difficult to treat. But this move by NHS has helped the patient to choose a second option instead of current treatment options available with limited effectiveness.
The charities dedicated for multiple sclerosis patients have stated that the guidelines issued by NICE are not going far enough as cannabis-based medicines are not recommended for treating pain which is mostly common MS symptom.