The English public health system (NHS) approved the prescription and reimbursement of 2 cannabis-based drugs .
The NHS’s cost-effectiveness watchdog, NICE, has updated its guidelines . And now advocates the use of Epidiolex for the treatment of epilepsy in patients with (LGS) or Dravet syndrome. And Sativex for multiple sclerosis spasticity. Both products are produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, an English company.
This is the first time that NICE has recommended the use of a herbal cannabis drug and its management by the NHS in England. To date, NICE has not recommended the use of Epidiolex but has changed its position following a reduction in the price of the drug granted by GW.
Epidiolex approved in Europe for the treatment of severe epilepsy last September. While Sativex was first registered in the United Kingdom in 2010 .
Last year, the UK decided the prescription of cannabis-based drugs by a hospital doctor. Such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. However, access to cannabis-based treatment has proved difficult for patients.
However, there is still no legal route to CBD-based drugs for the treatment of chronic pain. End Our Pain said on Twitter that the guidelines “do not go far enough to help patients[…] with the greatest needs, or for whom medical cannabis containing THC has significant effects on their lives”.
Also, patients with other forms of epilepsy are not accessible to cannabis products. As are the many forms of chronic pain resistant to treatment that generally respond positively to THC-based treatments.
GW reported that it was working with the relevant agencies in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy . To obtain reimbursement before the planned launch of Epidiolex in those countries.
Wales and Northern Ireland also follow NICE guidelines, while their Scottish counterpart, the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC), is expected to decide on Epidyolex next year. He indicated that GW had not applied for approval for the prescription of Sativex in the treatment of spasticity related to multiple sclerosis.
NICE also recommended the use of nabilone, synthetic THC, to relieve chemotherapy-related nausea in adults.