Your doctor may recommend that you take Epidiolex to manage seizures related to certain conditions. Seizures may occur from unusual signaling in the electrical activity of the brain. They can cause confusion, uncontrollable movements, and loss of consciousness.

Epidiolex may be used to manage seizures caused by the following conditions:

For this purpose, Epidiolex can be used in adults and some children. For more information about the specific uses of Epidiolex, see the “What is Epidiolex used for?” section below.

Epidiolex basics

The active ingredient in Epidiolex is cannabidiol (CBD). (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It’s available as a liquid solution that you swallow.

At this time, Epidiolex is only available in brand-name form. There currently aren’t any generic forms of Epidiolex available.

Read on to learn more about Epidiolex and its uses, side effects, and other information.

Like most drugs, Epidiolex may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Epidiolex may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Epidiolex. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Epidiolex can cause. To learn about its other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Epidiolex’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Epidiolex that have been reported include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Epidiolex can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Epidiolex, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Epidiolex that have been reported include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours per day when you call 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Epidiolex.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Epidiolex. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

The price of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers (if you have insurance) and which pharmacy you use.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You may also be eligible for an Epidiolex copay savings program.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Epidiolex that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Form

Epidiolex is available as a liquid solution that you swallow.

Recommended dosage

You’ll take a dose of Epidiolex twice per day. Your doctor will calculate your dose based on your body weight. The drugmaker also has a dosing calculator available, which you may use to check the dosage your doctor prescribed.

Questions about Epidiolex’s dosing

Below are some common questions about Epidiolex’s dosing.

  • What if I miss a dose of Epidiolex? If you miss your dose of Epidiolex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. In some cases, they may recommend taking your dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, your doctor or pharmacist may recommend skipping your missed dose and taking your next dose when you usually would.
  • Will I need to use Epidiolex long term? Yes, you’ll likely take Epidiolex long term if you and your doctor feel that this medication is safe and effective for your condition. This medication works to prevent seizures and is usually used as a long-term treatment.
  • How long does Epidiolex take to work? Epidiolex will start working after you take your first dose of medication. But it may take weeks before you notice that you’re having fewer seizures than usual. In studies of Epidiolex, people taking the drug reported fewer seizures within 4 weeks of starting treatment.

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Epidiolex.

Is Epidiolex a controlled substance? If so, what is its schedule?

No, Epidiolex currently isn’t a controlled substance. Controlled substances are drugs regulated by the United States government because they may cause dependence or misuse. With dependence, a person’s body becomes used to a drug and needs it to function as usual. Misuse is using a medication in a different way than prescribed, such as taking more than recommended.

Controlled substances are classified by categories called Schedules, numbered I to V. The numbers indicate risk for dependency or misuse. Schedule I drugs have the highest risk and Schedule V the lowest. Since Epidiolex is not a controlled substance, it doesn’t have a schedule.

But because Epidiolex contains cannabidiol (CBD) as its active ingredient,* some people may try to misuse it. This is because they may think the drug causes a “high,” which isn’t the case. So it’s important to store the drug in a secure place.

In addition, be sure to keep the prescription label on your bottle of Epidiolex, especially when traveling. In the United States, it’s legal to have prescription Epidiolex. But in some states, using CBD without a prescription is illegal.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

Can Epidiolex treat anxiety or schizophrenia?

At this time, Epidiolex isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people with anxiety or schizophrenia. In fact, this drug is currently only approved to manage seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. (For more information, see the “What is Epidiolex used for?” section below.).

One study suggests that CBD, the active ingredient in Epidiolex, may ease anxiety symptoms. But there isn’t enough information yet to determine if the drug may be safe or effective in people with anxiety.

In a study of CBD for treating schizophrenia, people taking the drug had a decrease in symptoms. But another study found that CBD didn’t affect schizophrenia symptoms. More studies or clinical trials are needed to determine if Epidiolex may be a safe or effective treatment for people with schizophrenia.

If you’re interested in using Epidiolex to treat anxiety or schizophrenia, talk with your doctor. They can work with you to devise the best treatment plan for your condition.

Where can I find reviews from people who’ve used Epidiolex?

If you’d like to learn about other people’s experiences with taking Epidiolex, see the drugmaker’s website. There you can find video testimonials from families of how Epidiolex helped to manage their loved one’s seizures.

It’s important to note that each person taking Epidiolex may respond differently to the medication. So your experience with the drug may differ from that of other people who’ve taken it. Talk with your doctor to see if Epidiolex may be a safe treatment option for you.

Is Epidiolex used for pain, migraine episodes, or autism spectrum disorder?

Currently, Epidiolex is only approved by the FDA to manage seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. (For more information, see the “What is Epidiolex used for?” section below.). It’s not currently approved to treat pain, migraine episodes, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Studies of CBD, the active ingredient in Epidiolex, for treating migraine headaches and ASD suggest the drug may work to ease symptoms of these conditions. Results from studies of CBD as a treatment for pain have been mixed. At this time, more studies are needed to see if Epidiolex may be a safe and effective treatment for these conditions.

If you’re interested in using Epidiolex to treat any of these conditions, talk with your doctor. They can work with you to devise the best treatment plan for your condition.

Your doctor may recommend that you take Epidiolex to manage seizures related to certain conditions. Seizures may occur from unusual signaling in the electrical activity of the brain. They can cause confusion, uncontrollable movements, and loss of consciousness.

Epidiolex may be used to manage seizures caused by the following conditions:

For managing seizures from these conditions, Epidiolex can be used in adults and children ages 12 months and older.

Epidiolex’s mechanism of action for managing seizures is unknown. “Mechanism of action” refers to how a drug works to treat a condition.

Certain factors can affect whether Epidiolex is a good treatment option. These include:

  • any medications you take
  • any medical conditions you have
  • your overall health

These factors and others are discussed below in more detail.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.

Before taking Epidiolex, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also, describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Epidiolex.

For information about drug-condition interactions, see the “Warnings” section below.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Epidiolex can interact with certain kinds of drugs or specific drugs. These include:

This list does not contain all the drugs that may interact with Epidiolex. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur when using Epidiolex.

Other interactions

In addition, Epidiolex can interact with certain supplements, such as St. John’s wort and caffeine.

This medication can also interact with alcohol. For more information, see the “Epidiolex and alcohol” section below.

Before you start taking Epidiolex, tell your doctor about any supplements that you take. They will let you know if your supplements are safe to take with this medication.

Warnings

Epidiolex may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These are known as drug-condition interactions. Other factors may also affect whether Epidiolex is a good treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Epidiolex. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

Depression, other mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Epidiolex can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. People who have depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors have an even higher risk of this side effect.

If you have any of these mental health problems, tell your doctor before you take Epidiolex. This will help them determine whether Epidiolex is safe for you to take. In some cases, they may recommend a different treatment option for you.

Liver problems. Epidiolex may cause liver damage. If you already have liver problems, taking Epidiolex can worsen your condition. Tell your doctor about any liver problems you have before starting Epidiolex treatment. They can check your liver before and during treatment. Depending on the condition of your liver, your doctor may recommend a different treatment option for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Epidiolex or any of its ingredients, including sesame seed oil, your doctor will likely not prescribe Epidiolex. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.

Epidiolex and alcohol

Your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol while you’re taking Epidiolex. This medication may cause you to feel sleepy or less alert, and so can alcohol. As a result, drinking alcohol during treatment may increase your risk of such side effects.

If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor about how much may be safe for you to consume while taking Epidiolex.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s not known if Epidiolex may be safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

At this time, there haven’t been studies of the drug done during pregnancy. It’s also not known if Epidiolex may pass into breast milk or its effects on a breastfeeding child.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor before taking Epidiolex. They’ll discuss with you the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

A pregnancy registry collects information about the effects of a drug when taken during pregnancy. This can help determine the drug’s effects on a developing fetus or someone who is pregnant. If you take Epidiolex while pregnant, consider enrolling in the pregnancy registry for antiseizure drugs. For information, call 888-233-2334 or visit the registry website.

Epidiolex is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manage seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. (For more information, see the “What is Epidiolex used for?” section above.) Some people may also use Charlotte’s Web supplements or products to manage seizures.

Charlotte’s Web supplements and products contain hemp, so they aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means the manufacturer of Charlotte’s Web can’t make claims about medical uses for this product.

Epidiolex contains cannabidiol (CBD) as its active ingredient. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Charlotte’s Web can contain CBD along with other ingredients.

Another difference between Epidiolex and Charlotte’s Web is dosage form. Epidiolex is only available as a liquid solution that you swallow. Charlotte’s Web comes as creams, capsules, and oils.

To learn more about how Epidiolex compares with Charlotte’s Web, see this article.

Your doctor will explain how you should take Epidiolex. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Taking Epidiolex

Epidiolex is available as a liquid solution that you swallow. You should always use the measuring syringes that come with Epidiolex. This is the best way to make sure that your dose is accurate.

It’s recommended that you discard any Epidiolex that you don’t use within 12 weeks after opening the bottle.

You should not suddenly stop taking Epidiolex. It’s possible that stopping treatment suddenly can increase your risk of seizures. If you need to stop taking Epidiolex, talk with your doctor. They’ll lower your dosage gradually to help decrease your risk of seizures.

Accessible medication containers and labels

If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Epidiolex in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

Taking Epidiolex with other drugs

In many cases, people who have a seizure disorder take multiple medications to treat their condition. So your doctor may recommend taking Epidiolex along with other seizure medications. Examples include levetiracetam (Keppra) and topiramate (Topamax).

Before you start taking Epidiolex, your doctor will determine the best treatment options for you.

Questions about taking Epidiolex

Below are some common questions about taking Epidiolex.

  • Should I take Epidiolex with food? You can take this drug with or without food. But food can affect your dose of Epidiolex. So it’s important to be consistent about when you take the drug. If you take it with a meal, try to always take it with a meal. If you take it on an empty stomach, try to always take it on an empty stomach.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Epidiolex? You should take Epidiolex twice per day. Taking this drug around the same time each day helps maintain a steady level of it in your body. This helps the drug work effectively.
Questions for your doctor

You may have questions about Epidiolex and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:

  • Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
    • How will Epidiolex affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
  • Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.

Do not take more Epidiolex than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.

What to do in case you take too much Epidiolex

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Epidiolex. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

You may have additional questions about taking Epidiolex to manage seizures for your condition. It’s important to discuss any questions that you may have with your doctor before starting your treatment with Epidiolex. This can help you feel comfortable with taking the drug. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Do any of my other medications increase my risk of side effects from Epidiolex?
  • Can my dosage of Epidiolex be increased if the drug isn’t working for me?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant while taking Epidiolex?

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.