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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sativex Helps MS Spasticity in Objective Tests

Sept 2014

BOSTON -- An objectively measured sign of spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients was relieved with Sativex, the oromucosal cannabinoid spray, in a small randomized trial reported here.
Mean scores on the modified Ashworth scale, which measures resistance to muscular stretching, for lower limb spasticity improved by 18.2% (SD 33.7%) in patients treated with Sativex for 4 weeks, compared with a 6.7% improvement (SD 26.6%in patients using a placebo spray (P=0.029 for the between-group difference), according to Letizia Leocani, MD, PhD, of University Hospital San Raffaele in Milan.
Previous studies had shown that Sativex, which combines tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in equal parts, improved MS patients' self-reported symptoms of spasticity. But a systematic review and practice guideline released earlier this year by the American Academy of Neurology indicated that the product is "probably ineffective" for objective spasticity measures.
Hence, the current study -- presented at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, held jointly this year with its North American counterpart -- provides new support for Sativex as a useful treatment for MS spasticity, an important manifestation that contributes to disability.
It randomized 43 patients to a 2-week titration period followed by 2 weeks of treatment at stable doses with either placebo or Sativex. Following a 2-week washout period, patients then crossed over to a second 4-week cycle with the other treatment.
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