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Sativex - Investigational Cannabis-Based Treatment for Pain and Multiple Sclerosis

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, Sativex is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract indicated for relief of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and for treatment of severe neuropathic-related cancer pain.

Bayer has secured exclusive rights to market Sativex in the UK with the option to extend this to other countries in Europe and countries such as Canada, where Sativex received regulatory approval in 2005 for treatment of neuropathic pain associated with MS.

In August 2007, Canadian regulators approved Sativex as adjunctive analgesic treatment in adult patients with advanced cancer pain. Sativex and a related tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) medicine have been investigated in phase III trials for the relief of cancer pain, an indication for which Bayer also has the option to market the drugs.

"In Europe alone there are some 500,000 MS patients on top of the 4 million experiencing neuropathic pain."GW Pharmaceuticals has also entered into a long-term research and development alliance on medicinal cannabinoids with Otsuka Pharmaceutical, which gives Otsuka exclusive rights to develop and market Sativex in the US. The companies will jointly oversee clinical development and regulatory activities in the US.

Having secured FDA approval to conduct trials of Sativex in patients with advanced cancer, whose pain is unrelieved by opioids, the companies are on schedule to conduct the first US efficacy trial of Sativex in neuropathic-related cancer pain in 2007.

Estimates suggest that between 10% and 30% of MS patients in Europe smoke cannabis to ease the pain and disabling symptoms of the disease. This activity is illegal and patients run the risk of prosecution. In the UK, cannabis-based medicines were in fact outlawed in 1968 after legislation banned doctors from prescribing tincture of cannabis. This preparation contained high concentrations of the active THC psychotropic ingredient and was popular among recreational cannabis users.

The UK Government gave GW Pharmaceuticals special permission to investigate medicines derived from cannabis and has indicated that the law will be changed to allow doctors to prescribe them if approved by the MHRA. This would represent a major step forward for MS patients as for the first time they would have access to safe and effective cannabis-derived drugs on prescription.

Sativex is a cannabis extract containing tetranabinex (THC) and nabidiolex (cannabidiol — CBD) as its principal component. It does not contain the active substance found in recreational cannabis and so patients taking Sativex will not become intoxicated. Sativex is administered by means of a spray into the mouth rather than smoked.

To meet demands for this innovative drug, GW Pharmaceuticals has increased production of cannabis at its fortified greenhouses to 60t/y.

Phase III placebo-controlled trials in about 350 patients with MS have shown that administration of Sativex as a sublingual spray is a safe and effective treatment for symptom relief. Compared with placebo, significantly more patients in the Sativex treatment arm experienced reduced neuropathic pain, spasticity, and sleep disturbances.

Further phase III data on 189 MS patients supports the earlier registration trial data. Again, treatment with Sativex produced a statistically significant improvement over placebo in spasticity, the primary endpoint, (p <0.05). Other secondary endpoints, such as the Ashworth scale, also favoured Sativex over placebo. Overall, these data have shown that Sativex produces treatment effects over and above those achieved with existing medications, which patients were allowed to continue while taking part in the Sativex trial.

Additional trials are also under way to assess the effectiveness of Sativex in treating neuropathic pain and spinal cord injury. Results from three phase III trials in patients with neuropathic pain showed that the addition of Sativex to standard therapy produced improvements over and above those obtained with existing medication. Patients in these trials had all failed to response to standard therapy and constituted a population with high clinical need.

Neuropathic pain, which is frequently chronic, arises when neurones in the brain or peripheral nervous system become hyper-sensitised and generate abnormal or prolonged impulses. There are many causes of neuropathic pain including diabetic neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Around 40% of cancer patients suffer some degree of neuropathic pain.

"Companies are on schedule to conduct the first US efficacy trial of Sativex in neuropathic-related cancer pain in 2007."Severe neuropathic pain has proved difficult to treat and evidence suggests that none of the available drugs, mainly opioids, is effective in more than 50% of patients. Thus, it represents an area of significant unmet clinical need. The encouraging data from the Sativex phase III registration trials in multiple sclerosis patients suggest cannabis-derived medicines may have a valuable place in this sector of the pain market.


In Europe alone there are some 500,000 MS patients on top of the 4 million experiencing neuropathic pain. This fact, together with a market poorly served by currently available drugs, presents an excellent opportunity for Sativex if the encouraging results seen in multiple sclerosis are reproduced in other patient groups.

Now that Sativex has been approved for clinical use in Canada, there are hopes that other countries will eventually follow the example set by the Canadian regulators.


New Member
Re: Sativex - Investigational Cannabis-Based Treatment for Pain and Multiple Sclerosi

Good article on Sativex, however, you missed some very important information... THIS DRUG IS KILLING PEOPLE:hmmmm:.

Sports Blog » Blog Archive » cannabis never killed anyone - untill they tried to 'make it safe'

Marijuana in it's natural form has never killed anyone.
Leave the leaf alone!!!!

Second: Most of the clinical work for Sativex has already been done in Europe. If/When they attempt to launch this drug in the USA it will be snuck through the backdoor of the FDA on a fast track using the studies done overseas as evidence for the trial phases. The federal government restricts studies on Marijuana in the US. Unless current laws are changed, marijuana has no medicinal value, that alone blocks any studies at all from happening on US soil. If GW pharmaceuticals and Bayer have their way, this dangerous drug will find it's way to your pharmacy without US clinical studies.

Food for thought........ Did you know that Bush Sr., sits on the board of directors for BAYER?


Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Re: Sativex - Investigational Cannabis-Based Treatment for Pain and Multiple Sclerosi

Is Sativex safe?
No medicine is totally risk free. A range of possible side effects associated
with Sativex were reported in clinical trials, including dizziness, somnolence,
weakness, fatigue and confusion. If convincing evidence of efficacy can be
provided, the side effect profile would not preclude a favourable balance of
risks and benefits.
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