Project Description

What is Sativex?

Sativex is an oromucosal spray approved for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Sativex’s first intended use has been to help alleviate moderate to severe muscle spasticity.

Cannabinoids in Sativex come from whole-plant sources, instead of synthetic sources like other marijuana-based pharmaceuticals. Sativex is similar, in many ways, to a marijuana tincture or cannabis oil.

While most Sativex is distributed to MS sufferers, patients with pain related to cancer or neuropathy also have access in some countries. Neuropathic pain is often chronic, and some estimations conclude that no available medication for this problem is effective in more than 50% of patients.

This leaves half of patients suffering with Neuropathic disorders in life-disrupting pain. Sativex has been successful for some patients for whom all other options have failed. More than a third of cancer patients suffer some form of neuropathy after they have gone into remission and Sativex can offer relief to patients such as these.

The marijuana used to make Sativex is grown by the medicine’s developer and producer, GW Pharmaceuticals in the UK while Bayer Pharmaceuticals distributes Sativex in Europe and North America. It is available or approved in 24 countries worldwide including the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, France, Israel, Iceland, Spain, and throughout Scandinavia.

Ingestion Methods & Advice

The amber colored Sativex is delivered to the patient as a fine mist sprayed into the mouth. This easy administration makes it a particularly good option for patients with mobility impairment. The thin membranes of the mouth allow the medicine to be absorbed quickly into the body, and without need for significant muscle control.

Sativex delivers fixed doses of 2.7mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD per spray. Adjustment of dosage is done by adding or subtracting daily sprays, and by increasing the span of time between dosages. It is recommended that a minimum of fifteen minutes be allowed to pass between sprays.

It can take some trial and error to find the best dosage for the individual patient, as each body’s chemistry is different. Additionally, the bio-availability of each Sativex dose can be impacted by the how far it is spaced from meals, and this requires some self-awareness on the part of patient or caretaker. Change locations inside the mouth onto which you spray Sativex; do not spray only on one location over and over, so as to avoid potential skin irritation.

Advantages

A phase III clinical trial charged with examining the effects of Sativex in 500 people indicated that 48% of patients had 20% or more improvement in their spasticity. Amongst those who replied, about three quarters had an improvement of greater than 30% in their spasticity score within four weeks when compared with those taking a placebo.

One of the most obvious advantages of Sativex is its legality. Available to MS sufferers on the NHS in Wales, patients can be prescribed the oromucosal spray without concern for legalities.

Disadvantages

The side effects associated with Sativex include dizziness, mild disorientation, and drowsiness. A smaller number of patients experienced excitability and alertness. Usually, negative effects are similar to those associated with marijuana itself, though a small percentage of Sativex patients found them negative enough to discontinue their use of the medication. Adjustment of dosage can improve outcome. It is advisable to begin Sativex conservatively and build to a higher dose if needed, so as to minimize negative side effects.

As with any medication, there are some patients that should avoid using Sativex. These patients include those who have a history of negative reactions or sensitivity to marijuana or marijuana-based medications. Patients with a history of significant psychological disturbances, such as schizophrenia or dissociative disorders may also be at increased risk for complications.

Whilst Sativex may be a prescription drug in some nations across the world, it is still an expensive commodity. If you are a British citizen living outside Wales, Sativex can cost up to £500