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The National Public Health Service (NHS, for its acronym in English), approved on Monday two cannabis-based medications for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS), both are diseases that affect the central nervous system.
This means that after a long waiting period, doctors will be able to prescribe in England the drug Epidiolex and Sativex, both developed by a local company. The first will be for children with serious epileptic diseases such as the so-called Lennox-Gastaut (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome, the second will be for multiple sclerosis.
With this official approval, doctors will be able to prescribe these treatments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, after that in 2018, a change in the law would grant this type of permission to professionals.
Clinical trials demonstrated that both solutions are effective. According to sources, Epidiolex containing the cannabidiol component (CBD), reduces seizures by 40% in some children. In England alone there are approximately 8,000 children with these conditions.
The price of the drug between 5600 and 11,200 euros a year, would have been the reason why the NHS had rejected the drugs a few months ago. It was an excessive price for patients.
On the other hand, Sativex a mixture of THC and CBD showed positive results for the treatment of muscle spasms and stiffness in multiple sclerosis. It can also be prescribed against different types of pain.