Kelly Knupp, MD: Keeping Perspective on CBD for Pediatric Epilepsies


The pediatric neurologist and epilepsy specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado spoke about the need to continue to research therapies once they’re approved to better understand their use, and how cannabidiol falls into this category.

“We do these big studies so we can get approval, and then we don’t really spend a lot of time studying these subpopulations. Unfortunately, I think a lot of that is going to be figured out anecdotally, and not with research.”

In 2018, the FDA granted approval to cannabidiol (CBD; Epidiolex) for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and while the addition was a welcomed one, this did not mark the complete understanding of the therapy’s use.

Although CBD and other medications continue to be studied in some instances post-approval and often for other conditions, the need for subgroup analyses—especially in epilepsy—is paramount. As Kelly Knupp, MD, pediatric neurologist and epilepsy specialist, Children’s Hospital Colorado, pointed out in a conversation with NeurologyLive®, when it comes to CBD, physicians still do not completely understand why specific subgroups of patients respond to CBD and others do not.

“I think it would be worthwhile to look at that and try to figure that out,” Knupp said. The data from the clinical trials are compelling, she noted, but it’s important to remember that patients, while achieving reductions, have not been achieving seizure freedom. At the 2019 International Epilepsy Congress, June 22-26, in Bangkok, Thailand, she spoke about the use of cannabinoids in epilepsy and where they may play a role in other epilepsies.

For more coverage of IEC 2019, click here.


Knupp K. Cannabinoids. Presented at: 2019 International Epilepsy Congress. June 22-26, 2019; Bangkok, Thailand.

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