Objective: To estimate the timing of cannabidiol (CBD) treatment effect (seizure reduction and adverse events [AEs]) onset, we conducted a post hoc analysis of GWPCARE6 (NCT02544763), a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
Methods: Patients received plant-derived pharmaceutical formulation of highly purified CBD (Epidiolex; 100 mg/ml oral solution) at 25 mg/kg/day (CBD25) or 50 mg/kg/day (CBD50) or placebo for 16 weeks (4-week titration, 12-week maintenance). Treatment started at 5 mg/kg/day for all groups and reached 25 mg/kg/day on Day 9 and 50 mg/kg/day on Day 29. Percentage change from baseline in TSC-associated seizure (countable focal or generalized) count was calculated by cumulative day (i.e., including all previous days). Time to onset and resolution of AEs were evaluated.
Results: Of 224 patients, 75 were randomized to CBD25, 73 to CBD50, and 76 to placebo. Median (range) age was 11.3 (1.1-56.8) years. Patients had discontinued a median (range) of 4 (0-15) antiseizure medications and were currently taking 3 (0-5). Difference in seizure reduction between CBD and placebo emerged on Day 6 (titrated dose, 15 mg/kg/day) and became nominally significant (p < .049) by Day 10. Separation between placebo and CBD in ¿50% responder rate also emerged by Day 10. Onset of AEs occurred during the first 2 weeks of the titration period in 61% of patients (CBD25, 61%; CBD50, 67%; placebo, 54%). In patients with an AE, resolution occurred within 4 weeks of onset in 42% of placebo and 27% of CBD patients and by end of trial in 78% of placebo and 51% of CBD patients.
Significance: Onset of treatment effect occurred within 6-10 days. AEs lasted longer for CBD than placebo, but the most common (diarrhea, decreased appetite, and somnolence) resolved during the 16-week trial in most patients.