In recent randomized, placebo-controlled, phase III trials, highly purified cannabidiol demonstrated efficacy with an acceptable safety profile in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. It is anticipated that antiepileptic drugs such as stiripentol and valproate will be administered concomitantly with cannabidiol.
This trial evaluated the effect of cannabidiol on steady-state pharmacokinetics of stiripentol or valproate in patients with epilepsy, and the safety and tolerability of cannabidiol.
This phase II, two-arm, parallel-group, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial recruited male and female patients with epilepsy aged 16-55 years. Patients receiving a stable dose of stiripentol or valproate were randomized 4:1 to receive concomitant double-blind cannabidiol or placebo. Patients received plant-derived, highly purified cannabidiol medicine (Epidiolex® in the USA; Epidyolex® in the EU; 100 mg/mL oral solution) at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day from day 12 to 26, following a 10-day dose-escalation period. Blood samples for pharmacokinetic evaluations were collected on days 1 and 26 before stiripentol/valproate dosing and up to 12 h postdose. Treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs) were recorded.
In total, 35 patients were recruited to the stiripentol arm (n = 14) or the valproate arm (n = 21). Both the safety and the pharmacokinetic populations of the stiripentol arm comprised 14 patients (2 placebo; 12 cannabidiol). The safety population of the valproate arm comprised 20 patients (4 placebo; 16 cannabidiol; one withdrew before receiving treatment); the pharmacokinetic population comprised 15 patients (3 placebo; 12 cannabidiol). Concomitant cannabidiol led to a small increase in stiripentol exposure (17% increase in maximum observed plasma concentration [Cmax]; 30% increase in area under the concentration-time curve over the dosing interval [AUCtau]). Concomitant cannabidiol also had little effect on valproate exposure (13% decrease in Cmax; 17% decrease in AUCtau) or its metabolite, 2-propyl-4-pentenoic acid (4-ene-VPA) (23% decrease in Cmax; 30% decrease in AUCtau). All changes in exposure are expressed as the dose-normalized geometric mean (CV%) day 26 to day 1 ratio. The most common AE was diarrhea; most AEs were mild. Two patients discontinued cannabidiol because of serious AEs (rash [n = 1] in the stiripentol arm; hypertransaminasemia [n = 1] in the valproate arm). A separate in vitro study investigated the bidirectional effect of cannabidiol, or its metabolite 7-carboxy-cannabidiol, on valproate plasma protein binding; no change in plasma protein binding was observed for either compound.
The clinical relevance of the increase in stiripentol exposure is unknown; patients receiving cannabidiol and stiripentol concomitantly should be monitored for adverse reactions as individual patient responses may vary. Coadministration of cannabidiol did not affect the pharmacokinetics of valproate or its metabolite, 4-ene-VPA, in adult patients with epilepsy. Safety results were consistent with the known safety profile of cannabidiol at a dose of 20 mg/kg/day. Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02607891.