First cannabinoid drug has restrictions lifted

Sativex-webSativex, the first cannabinoid medicine derived from whole plant extracts from the cannabis sativa plant, has had its restrictions lifted after concerns over its misuse and addictive potential were calmed.

The UK Home Office had originally stated the spray had to be stored in a lockable refrigerator or one not visible to the general public and prescribed a long with certain criteria.

But following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), the Home Office ruled the drug no longer has to be locked away.

Professor John Zajicek, Consultant Neurologist at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, said the lifting of the restrictions is “good news for healthcare professionals involved in the prescribing, supply and storage of Sativex.”

Concerns were initially raised about levels of abuse and addiction by the ACMD after it was approved for use by the MHRA in June 2010. But the Council has now recognised the low abuse potential and low diversion risk of the treatment and changed its original recommendation.

The spray is indicated as a treatment for adults with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) who have failed to respond to other treatments. It is only available on prescription from a physician with experience in treating MS spasticity.