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Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy

Stephanie McGrath DVM, MS1, Lisa R. Bartner DVM, MS1, Sangeeta Rao BVSc, PhD1, Rebecca A. Packer DVM, MS1, and Daniel L. Gustafson PhD1
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  • 1 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the effect of oral cannabidiol (CBD) administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

DESIGN

Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial.

ANIMALS

26 client-owned dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy.

PROCEDURES

Dogs were randomly assigned to a CBD (n = 12) or placebo (14) group. The CBD group received CBD-infused oil (2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb], PO) twice daily for 12 weeks in addition to existing antiepileptic treatments, and the placebo group received noninfused oil under the same conditions. Seizure activity, adverse effects, and plasma CBD concentrations were compared between groups.

RESULTS

2 dogs in the CBD group developed ataxia and were withdrawn from the study. After other exclusions, 9 dogs in the CBD group and 7 in the placebo group were included in the analysis. Dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency, compared with the placebo group. However, the proportion of dogs considered responders to treatment (≥ 50% decrease in seizure activity) was similar between groups. Plasma CBD concentrations were correlated with reduction in seizure frequency. Dogs in the CBD group had a significant increase in serum alkaline phosphatase activity. No adverse behavioral effects were reported by owners.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs in the CBD group, the proportion of responders was similar between groups. Given the correlation between plasma CBD concentration and seizure frequency, additional research is warranted to determine whether a higher dosage of CBD would be effective in reducing seizure activity by ≥ 50%.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the effect of oral cannabidiol (CBD) administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

DESIGN

Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial.

ANIMALS

26 client-owned dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy.

PROCEDURES

Dogs were randomly assigned to a CBD (n = 12) or placebo (14) group. The CBD group received CBD-infused oil (2.5 mg/kg [1.1 mg/lb], PO) twice daily for 12 weeks in addition to existing antiepileptic treatments, and the placebo group received noninfused oil under the same conditions. Seizure activity, adverse effects, and plasma CBD concentrations were compared between groups.

RESULTS

2 dogs in the CBD group developed ataxia and were withdrawn from the study. After other exclusions, 9 dogs in the CBD group and 7 in the placebo group were included in the analysis. Dogs in the CBD group had a significant (median change, 33%) reduction in seizure frequency, compared with the placebo group. However, the proportion of dogs considered responders to treatment (≥ 50% decrease in seizure activity) was similar between groups. Plasma CBD concentrations were correlated with reduction in seizure frequency. Dogs in the CBD group had a significant increase in serum alkaline phosphatase activity. No adverse behavioral effects were reported by owners.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs in the CBD group, the proportion of responders was similar between groups. Given the correlation between plasma CBD concentration and seizure frequency, additional research is warranted to determine whether a higher dosage of CBD would be effective in reducing seizure activity by ≥ 50%.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 526 kb)
    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 308 kb)
    • Supplementary Table S2 (PDF 308 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. McGrath (stephanie.mcgrath@colostate.edu).