Cannabis-based medicines to help epilepsy and MS cleared for NHS use for first time – The Sun

TWO cannabis-based medicines have been cleared for NHS use for the first time.

Epidyolex is recommended for two rare types of epilepsy while the spray Sativex can ease muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis.

But regulators say there is not enough evidence to approve cannabis-based drugs for chronic pain.

Campaigners have welcomed the go-ahead but said thousands of other people who could benefit from cannabis-based medicines were left in limbo.

Millie Hinton, from the group End Our Pain, said it had been “a massive missed opportunity”.

Last year, it was made legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

However, many have been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of guidance and costing concerns.

It has forced some families to buy the drugs abroad and bring them into the UK illegally.


The latest guidance comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence looked at the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines for several conditions.

It decided up to 9,000 people with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes and 10,000 MS sufferers can be prescribed the two drugs.

But Nice drew the line at drugs containing THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — to relieve pain.

Campaigners claim Nice wants evidence from clinical trials for which they are not suitable.


Ms Hinton said: “It is this kind of whole plant extract that has been shown to be life-transforming for a significant number of children.

“This guidance is condemning many patients to having to pay for life-transforming medicine privately, to go without or to find illegal and unregulated sources.”

Epilepsy Action also called the decision disappointing.

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