Sativex has already been manufactured and prescribed for those overseas who suffer from spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) for about a year now, and Michael Panna of Lima has been wondering if it would be available for people like him here in the States soon.
“I’d heard that it isn’t like marijuana that is inhaled because it is sprayed under the tongue,” says Panna. “But it is the same in that it is made from the actual plant, as opposed to other synthetic medicines that have caused a great deal of problems in the past.”
A phase III study in Barcelona recently confirmed improvement in MS spasticity and, combined with phase II studies just now being done on Sativex here for cancer pain, each successful study done can only lead to more help for MS patients being available in the States as well.
Concerns and questions have been bandied about, though.
Its availability in the UK, for instance, for those with MS, has been somewhat limited. Reports from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) find it not being “cost effective” and, since it has been shown to be slower acting than medical marijuana, more than likely those who have access to medical marijuana will simply stay with what has been working for them.
Over there and here.
Although stating that Sativex might just prove to be a bureaucratic nightmare and cost, at least at first, some financial issues, it is still something that may benefit those with MS spasticity concerns in the end; choices are really quite limited when it comes to dealing with this particular MS symptom.
Physiotherapy, exercise programs and medicines such as baclofen and the unfortunate Vioxx wreckage are what most have to work with so, perhaps, with adding another option such as Sativex and its efficacy and safety, relief can finally be had?
Professor Hartung, Chair of Neurology at Heinrich-Heine University in Germany says, “Sativex®has proven to reduce the severity of symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life and functional status, in patients with spasticity in multiple sclerosis, meaning that they can undertake everyday tasks more easily. Also, importantly, clinical experience to date has demonstrated that the tolerability profile of this medicine is favourable, with limited relevant adverse effects and – particularly reassuring – the drug does not appear to lead to withdrawal effects if patients suddenly stop using it.”
It has been slow going, with people swinging back and forth on the medical marijuana issue, but if researchers can find a way to use the healthier affects of this plant, to assist those dealing with this disease, it could all become a fantastic non-issue.
And medication like Sativex is most certainly something that can make that happen.
Sources: berkeleypatientscare.com/2010/06/25/sativex-liquid-medical-marijuana; gwpharm.com/; ms.about.com/b/2011/04/26/sativex-makes-progress-worldwide-including-in-us.htm; mssociety.org.uk/node/626658; gwpharm.com
For more info: for those who live in Lima, Ohio, the Northwestern Ohio MS Chapter can be reached at: 401 Tomahawk Drive, Maumee, OH at (419) 897-7263. They are located approximately an hour and a half from Lima, Ohio and 45 minutes from Findlay, Ohio. For directions please click here at Bing Maps.
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