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Cannabis-based prescription drug approved to treat MS

  1. Pringles
    ]A cannabis-based drug which can be taken by multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers has been approved for use in the UK.

    Sativex will be marketed in the UK by its licensee Bayer, according to GW Pharmaceuticals. The firm told Reuters news agency that a 10 millilitre vial - enough to last a patient about 11 days - would cost the NHS £125.

    Compounds taken from marijuana plants are used in the drug and research has shown that Sativex, which is sprayed under the tongue, cuts down spasticity in MS patients who do not respond to conventional treatment.

    The NICE has still to rule on whether Sativex is cost-effective enough to be used by the NHS.

    It was the first cannabis medicine in the world to gain regulatory backing five years ago when it was approved by Canadian authorities for neuropathic pain. Its entry into the UK - and possible other European countries as a result - will see it become available to a larger market.

    View attachment 15201

    21 June, 2010

    nursing times


  1. bananaskin
    Cannabis spray for MS: Controversial medicine that relieves pain gets go-ahead

    MS 'milestone': Sativex

    The first cannabis-based medicine has been given the go-ahead for use in Britain by MS sufferers.

    Sativex, a mouth spray, relieves painful spasticity of the muscles which can make it hard to unscrew the lid from a bottle or get in and out of a car.

    It was developed by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals after some MS sufferers broke the law to use the illegal drug. It contains active ingredients called cannabinoids which are extracted from cannabis plants grown in a strictly controlled environment at a secret location in Britain.

    Around 11,500 patients could be eligible for treatment but at £11 a day, the medicine may yet be deemed too expensive by the NHS 'rationing' body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

    Sativex has received a licence for use as a medicine from the European regulatory body, allowing it to be routinely prescribed by doctors.

    However, NHS funding for the drug will depend initially on the willingness of primary care trusts to foot the bill prior to a full assessment by NICE. Some PCTs may not automatically pay for Sativex.

    They could insist on patients applying for exceptional approval – which may not be granted – until NICE decides whether to support its use on the NHS.

    For several years many of Britain's 100,000 sufferers of multiple sclerosis have campaigned to be allowed to use cannabis to ease symptoms of spasticity and pain.

    Pam Macfarlane, chief executive of the MS Trust, said: 'We have been aware for a long time, based on comments from people with MS, that cannabis-based medicines can significantly improve spasticity which is a common, complex symptom of MS.

    'For this reason the MS Trust has campaigned for the availability of a licensed medicine that can be properly controlled and prescribed.

    'We have also invested money and resources in developing the body of knowledge by funding clinical research into the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines.'

    Professor John Zajicek, consultant in neurology at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, and a world leader in cannabinoid research, said the treatment was a 'milestone'.

    He added: 'Sativex has mainly mild to moderate side-effects which are usually controlled by simply adjusting the dose.

    'It is a good addition to existing treatments which will be of great benefit in the future.'

    Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, added: 'We hope that it will be made freely available on the NHS to anyone who might benefit from it.'

    Until now, patients could get Sativex – which will be marketed by Bayer Schering Pharma – only if their doctor agreed to prescribe it on a 'named patient' basis, under which the patient takes personal responsibility for using an unlicensed drug.

    By Jenny Hope
    Last updated at 9:16 AM on 22nd June 2010

  2. Roads
    Yet another small victory for cannabinoid therapies!

    The real question here is really: CAN SWIM GET HIGH FROM IT!?
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    no- I do not think so. and this is the direction medical marijuana is heading. Marijuana has long been bred for higher THC content at the expense of CBD condent which has been dropping. Yet it is being found that high CBD and low THC seems to be the magic ticket for most medical marijuana uses. Over the next decade we will see an increase in strains that don't get one high, but work wonders for various ailments.
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