Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Children: A Health Technology Assessment

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Title: Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Children: A Health Technology Assessment
Authors: Elliott, Jesse
Date: 2020-05-07
Embargo: 2021-05-07
Abstract: Interest in the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children has grown over the last decade; however, little is known about its potential benefits and harms, cost-effectiveness, or the perspectives of key stakeholders. In this thesis, a health technology assessment approach was adopted to assess the intended and unintended consequences of medical cannabis use in the treatment of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy. This thesis comprises three main sections: (1) a living systematic review of the benefits and harms of medical cannabis for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy, including drug-resistant forms; (2) an economic evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of medical cannabis for the treatment of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy, and (3) qualitative exploration of the perspectives of neurologists and parents of children with drug-resistant epilepsy about the use of medical cannabis in this population. While neurologists generally perceived medical cannabis as a viable treatment option for drug-resistant epilepsy in children, particularly after other treatments have failed, they identified several gaps in the evidence base, including a lack of long-term studies and a lack of evidence related to cannabinoids other than cannabidiol. This is in keeping with the findings of the living systematic review, which support a beneficial role for medical cannabis in reducing seizures associated with drug-resistant epilepsy, although the certainty of the evidence was moderate at best. Parents described experiencing many barriers to accessing medical cannabis for their children, primarily related to finding a health care provider to authorize its use, the high cost of cannabis-based treatments, and a lack of reimbursement through public or private insurance programs. However, cannabinoid oil may be a more cost-effective treatment for some types of pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy compared with antiepileptic drugs currently reimbursed by some provincial insurance programs. These findings suggest that medical cannabis is a potentially effective and cost-effective treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy that may addresses an unmet need. However, additional studies are needed to address uncertainty related to the long-term benefits and harms of cannabis-based products, particularly with respect to products available in Canada.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/40474
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-24707
CollectionThèses - Embargo // Theses - Embargo
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