Cannabidiol-enriched medical cannabis as add-on therapy in children with treatment-resistant West syndrome: A study of eight patients
Objective: Here we present a series of patients with WS that were refractory to antiseizure medications and the ketogenic diet and who were treated with cannabidiol-enriched cannabis oil (CBD) as add-on therapy analyzing efficacy, safety, and tolerability.
Material and methods: Medical records of eight patients with WS treated with CBD at a ratio of cannabidiol:Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (CBD:THC) of 25:1 seen between May 2020 and March 2021 were retrospectively analyzed. In all patients CBD was started as add-on therapy.
Results: Eight patients (six female and two male) who received CBD for treatment-resistant WS were evaluated. Ages ranged from 16 to 22 months. The etiology was unknown in five and structural in three. Initial CBD dose was 2 mg/kg/day which was uptitrated to a median dose of 12 mg/kg/day (range, 2-25). Prior to CBD initiation, patients had a mean of 63 seizures per day (range, 31-79). After a follow-up of between 6 and 13 months, a 75-99% decrease in seizure frequency was observed in two patients, a 50-74% decrease in two, a less than 50% decrease in three, and no changes in seizure frequency were seen in the remaining patient. The index of EEG abnormalities improved between 20 and 80% in seven patients concurrently with the reduction in seizures. Adverse effects were mild and transient. Somnolence was observed in one patient, nausea and vomiting in one, and behavior disturbances and irritability in another patient.
Conclusion: This study evaluating the use of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis oil in children with WS showed that four (50%) of eight had a more than 50% seizure reduction with good tolerability.
Keywords: Antiseizure medication; Cannabidiol; Epileptic spasms; Treatment-resistant; West syndrome.