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Added benefit of Cannabis sativa for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is not proven
Date:9/17/2012

An extract from the plant Cannabis sativa (trade name Sativex) was approved in May 2011 for patients suffering from moderate to severe spastic paralysis and muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis (MS). In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the "Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products" (AMNOG), the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined whether the new drug, which is used as a mouth spray, offers an added benefit over the optimized standard therapy. However, no such added benefit can be inferred from the dossier, as the drug manufacturer deviated from the specifications of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) and chose a different comparator therapy.

Comparison of different possibilities for optimizing treatment

The extract from Cannabis sativa, which contains the active ingredient combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is approved as add-on therapy to the already used antispastic drugs. Usually, drugs such as baclofen or tizanidine are given to treat muscle spasms. The cannabis extract can be considered when, despite an individual, patient-tailored use of these drugs, the symptoms caused by spasticity cannot be adequately relieved.

The G-BA specified an optimized standard therapy containing baclofen, tizanidine or drugs that are approved for the treatment of spasticity in underlying neurological diseases as the appropriate comparator therapy. At least two previous attempts at treatment were to have been made, in each of which different oral antispastic (spasmolytic) drugs had been used in an optimum way. Again, at least one product was to have contained the active ingredients baclofen or tizanidine. The aim of the assessment by IQWiG was to compare the additional administration of the Cannabis sativa extract with other available possibilities for optimizing treatment and to assess the added benefit.

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Contact: Dr. Anna-Sabine Ernst
presse@iqwig.de
49-221-356-850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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