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FDA Approves Drug That Could Help Epilepsy Patients

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The FDA recently approved a drug called Epidiolex, which could help certain epilepsy patients.

Epidiolex is a cannabis-based product and is said to help reduce the number of seizures.

“The whole idea of medicinal marijuana is still up in the air, I believe, and it’s nice to have something that’s been approved and studied and shows that it’s been effective,” neurologist Steve Adelman said.

A mother of a child with epilepsy said this new drug would help a small portion of people with certain types of epilepsy.

“Number one, they’re going to have to have dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, the two that this drug has been approved for. Number two, they’re going to have to have a physician willing to prescribe it. Number three, they’re going to have to have an insurance company willing to cover it because I just can’t even imagine how expensive it’s going to be,” mother Sally Gaer said.

But Adelman said this is a step in right direction and will hopefully open the door for more studies on CBD oil.

“It’s nice to have that the government hopefully will allow further research into CBD for not only epilepsy, but for a variety of other conditions. So that we do have good data, we know there are significant side effects, and we know the efficacy,” Adelman said.

Gaer said she’s been using a particular CBD oil with her daughter since it’s been legal in Iowa, and she’s not sure about this new drug.

“It wouldn’t have as full of a cannabinoid panel as Charlotte’s Web hemp oil has, and so we would really need to think long and hard about switching her from a natural product to a pharmaceutical CBD,” Gaer said.

She's also worried it might put natural product companies out of business.

“My biggest fear is that they will shut down places like CW Hemp or other companies in legal states that are producing and distributing high quality hemp products to people,” Gaer said.