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The drug, which became the first CBD-based medication approved for use by the FDA in the United States (under the name Epidiolex), treats two severe forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox‑Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These conditions are characterised by frequent and violent seizures, which can be hard to treat with traditional epilepsy pharmaceuticals.
Despite the fact that Epidyolex is produced by UK company GW Pharmaceuticals, the drug first had to be approved by the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before it could legally be used in Europe and the UK.
In July, the EMA recommended that the drug be approved for marketing after a series of controlled trials. Now, the European Commission has officially approved Epidyolex for UK and European use.
The chief operating officer of GW Pharmaceuticals, Chris Tovey, is also currently in talks to make Epidyolex available on the NHS. It is estimated that up to 50,000 children and young adults suffer from either Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gaustaut syndrome in Europe