A mother fighting for medicinal cannabis to be made available on the NHS to treat her five-year-old son’s severe epilepsy has revealed that he was given ketamine by doctors in hospital. Karen Gray, a Scottish mother-of-three, said that her son Murray was prescribed the Class B drug famed as horse tranquilizer to help him cope with the symptoms of his condition – which can include up to 600 seizures a day.
She said it was “ridiculous” that she was unable to provide her child with medicinal cannabis – thought to have therapeutic effects on sufferers of a variety of illnesses – but that the NHS has no problems prescribing the drug ketamine.
Speaking ahead of a planned protest outside Scottish Parliament on Thursday, she said: “What’s happening is he gets IV treatment but his body seems to be getting used to that so it’s just not helping him. So, the only other option available to Murray when he goes into this phase of seizures is to try him again with ketamine – which is the horse tranquilizer.
“He was on it before three months ago, they gave him 1.65mls and he took it for five days but it did nothing for him. The neurologists are genuinely wanting to give him ketamine and he’s had it before. “I researched it and in Belgium they are treating some people who have epilepsy with ketamine and apparently it can help.
But, I think with Murray, nothing else is helping him so the doctors are trying different things. “He got all of the side effects and none of the perceived benefits with ketamine – it never calmed his brain and didn’t stop his seizures. He was very drowsy after taking it.”
Murray was diagnosed with Myoclonic Astatic Epilepsy aged two.
“It is ridiculous that there is a medicine out there that could alleviate Murray’s condition and the conditions of many others across the UK,” Scottish Lib Dems MP Christine Jardine said.
“Instead of one Class B drug he has been prescribed another class B drug. The Conservative Government should listen to the clear public view, expressed in support for Karen Gray’s petition, that it’s time for change. I am pushing for a parliamentary debate to pursue this change.” Mrs Gray recently met with Scottish health secretary Shona Robinson to discuss the matter.
Robinson is currently researching the potential availability of cannabinoid medicine created by a UK company GW Pharmaceuticals called Epidiolex. “Shona Robison had a very productive meeting with Ms Gray recently and was able to get a greater understanding of the difficulties she and her son face,” a Scottish Government spokesperson said.
Rare cases Tracey Gillies, Medical Director for NHS Lothian added: “Ketamine is only prescribed in rare cases for children with severe epilepsy where other rescue medications have not been sufficiently effective.
Ketamine is considered a rescue medication and is only prescribed in a very small dose and as a temporary measure (generally no more than 5 days) until regular medications or special diet have become effective. It’s also only used in specialist centres.”
Last month, Mrs Gray handing in a 170,000 signature petition to Downing Street. She hopes the volumn of report she has received will trigger a parliamentary debate about the potential availability of cannabis on the NHS.
Originally published @ iNews