NICE gives greenlight to two cannabis-based drugs

Doctors in the UK can now prescribe two cannabis-based medicinal products, which can benefit people with medical conditions such as epilepsy and spasticity.


This is according to new guidance published from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides recommendations about the prescribing of cannabis-based medicinal products for people with intractable nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, spasticity and severe treatment-resistant epilepsy.

The guideline provides guidance that two cannabis-based products, Epidyolex and Sativex, will now be available as licensed drugs which can be prescribed by doctors who are registered as specialist medical practitioners.

NICE recommends Epidyolex as an anti-epileptic treatment for people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome, who experience severe seizures.

And it approves Sativex for the treatment of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) related spasticity, in particular in cases where the condition has not responded to other medication.

Physiotherapists are not able to prescribe these medicines as they are controlled drugs, which are not on the physiotherapist controlled drug list. CSP professional adviser Jenny Nissler said: ‘This succinct guideline is relevant to physiotherapy services for awareness of the current approved use of these products.

‘It sets out recommendations for chronic pain, spasticity, severe treatment-resistant epilepsy and intractable nausea and vomiting.

‘Further sections include recommendations for research in these areas, including for fibromyalgia and for chronic pain in children – as well as the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in combination with cannabidiol (CBD)’.

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