Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies.Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, a US-based pharmaceutical company, has ‘dosed’ the first participant in its STAR1 clinical trial, which aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a cannabidiol gel called ZYN002 in adults with refractory focal epilepsy.Armando Anido, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, said in a press release: “The dosing of the first patients in the STAR 1 clinical trial in adults with refractory epilepsy is a significant milestone for the company.” He added: “We are pleased by the pace of the clinical program for ZYN002.”The randomised phase two clinical trial aims to recruit 180 adults with refractory, or drug resistant, epilepsy. Following an eight-week baseline period to assess their seizure types and frequencies, the participants will receive one of two different doses of the drug, or an identical looking placebo, every 12 hours for 12 weeks.Researchers will evaluate the change in the participants’ seizure frequency over the 12-week period of treatment. The first results from the trial are expected in the first half of 2017.The study is currently being conducted in Australia and New Zealand and there are currently no sites in the UK recruiting participants; however any results arising from this trial may also be beneficial for people in the UK.Previous research has shown that cannabidiol treatment may be beneficial in reducing seizure frequency in people with drug-resistant epilepsy. The ZYN002 gel is a synthetic cannabidiol designed to be transmitted through patches on the skin in a consistent and controlled way. As the drug is absorbed through the skin directly, it does not go through the gastrointestinal system and is not degraded by stomach acids. In addition, liver metabolism is avoided, potentially allowing lower doses of the drug to be used to obtain a beneficial effect.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.