Cannabis-Derived Drug Could Be a Game-Changer for Children with Severe Epilepsy, UCLA Expert Says

Article ID: 696577

Released: 25-Jun-2018 11:05 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

Expert Pitch
  • Credit: UCLA Health/David Geffen School of Medicine

    Dr. Shaun Hussain

Child epilepsy specialist Dr. Shaun Hussain says the drug Epidiolex, approved June 25 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be a vital intervention for children with a rare but severe form epilepsy.

“A lot of these kids aren’t in school, they’re not growing up to be independent, so there’s a tremendous unmet need," said Hussain, a pediatric neurologist and director of the infantile spasms program at UCLA.

Epidiolex is intended for children with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, disorders that can cause tens or hundreds of seizures a day, interfering with normal development. The drug, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, is the first cannabis-derived medication to win FDA approval.

“This is a moment where we are pivoting from the position that marijuana is only harmful to a position that cannabis actually has some real, therapeutic potential,” said Hussain, who is a member of UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative.

To get in touch with Hussain, contact Leigh Hopper at lhopper@mednet.ucla.edu or 310-308-0405. To view a video of Hussain, see https://www.uclahealth.org/shaun-hussain.


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