Randomized, dose-ranging safety trial of cannabidiol in Dravet syndrome

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the safety and preliminary pharmacokinetics of a pharmaceutical formulation of purified cannabidiol (CBD) in children with Dravet syndrome.

Methods

Patients aged 4–10 years were randomized 4:1 to CBD (5, 10, or 20 mg/kg/d) or placebo taken twice daily. The double-blind trial comprised 4-week baseline, 3-week treatment (including titration), 10-day taper, and 4-week follow-up periods. Completers could continue in an open-label extension. Multiple pharmacokinetic blood samples were taken on the first day of dosing and at end of treatment for measurement of CBD, its metabolites 6-OH-CBD, 7-OH-CBD, and 7-COOH-CBD, and antiepileptic drugs (AEDs; clobazam and metabolite N-desmethylclobazam [N-CLB], valproate, levetiracetam, topiramate, and stiripentol). Safety assessments were clinical laboratory tests, physical examinations, vital signs, ECGs, adverse events (AEs), seizure frequency, and suicidality.

Results

Thirty-four patients were randomized (10, 8, and 9 to the 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg/d CBD groups, and 7 to placebo); 32 (94%) completed treatment. Exposure to CBD and its metabolites was dose-proportional (AUC0–t). CBD did not affect concomitant AED levels, apart from an increase in N-CLB (except in patients taking stiripentol). The most common AEs on CBD were pyrexia, somnolence, decreased appetite, sedation, vomiting, ataxia, and abnormal behavior. Six patients taking CBD and valproate developed elevated transaminases; none met criteria for drug-induced liver injury and all recovered. No other clinically relevant safety signals were observed.

Conclusions

Exposure to CBD and its metabolites increased proportionally with dose. An interaction with N-CLB was observed, likely related to CBD inhibition of cytochrome P450 subtype 2C19. CBD resulted in more AEs than placebo but was generally well-tolerated.

Classification of evidence

This study provides Class I evidence that for children with Dravet syndrome, CBD resulted in more AEs than placebo but was generally well-tolerated.

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