Paediatric epilepsy

The NSW Government has committed $3.5 million to explore the use of cannabis products in providing relief for children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy.

These trials are part of the NSW Government’s commitment to develop a better understanding of how cannabis products can provide relief to children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy.

NSW researchers at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Dr John Lawson and Dr Deepak Gill, will lead the development and conduct of these trials using cannabis-derived products manufactured and supplied by UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals.

About the trials

Each trial will have a specific number of participants. This number will be carefully calculated to ensure the study achieves the most accurate scientific result in the shortest possible time. All trials will be conducted in accordance with good practice for clinical trials and subject to regulatory approval, including review and approval by an appropriate Human Research Ethics Committee. Researchers are currently designing the first of the trials.

Participating in the trials

Researchers are currently designing the first of the trials.

This is a NSW-based trial. Residents from other states and territories in Australia will need to await further information on potential study hospital sites and local involvement. For further information regarding eligibility in NSW, click here and/or talk to your local specialist doctor about whether your child may be able to participate. Further information will be available as the trials program is developed.

Compassionate access scheme for Epidiolex®

From 2016 the new partnership with GW Pharmaceuticals allows compassionate access for a limited number of children to Epidiolex®. This access scheme is for a small number of children who are not able to participate in the clinical trial due to the unrelenting nature of their epilepsy which has not responded to other treatment methods. Details of this scheme have been released. If your child may be eligible, please discuss this with your paediatric neurologist.