Trends in prescription and cost of Sativex, a cannabinoid-based medicine, in treating patients with multiple sclerosis in England

Farideh A. Javid, Anam Alam, Emily Williams, Sidhra Sajid Malik, Usama Mohayuddin, Syed Shahzad Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Cannabis-based medication has recently been made available in the NHS for reducing pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The currently available preparation of Sativex (nabiximols) contains a combination of botanical cannabis extracts with cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with almost equal amounts in addition to minor cannabinoids and terpenoids and is delivered via an oro-mucosal spray. The present study aims to examine the use and trends in prescribing cannabinoid-based Sativex to control pain in patients diagnosed with MS. Methods: Primary care prescribing data for cannabinoid-based Sativex (2013-2022) from the Prescription Cost Analysis were extracted and analysed. Linear regression analyses were performed to examine prescription trends and prescription costs (average change per year). Results: There was a general increasing trend in the number of prescriptions each year, from 4.42 items dispensed per 100,000 people in 2013 to 5.15 in 2022. Overall, prescription items for cannabinoid-based Sativex increased by 0.34% per year (95% CI:−3.98, 4.67, p = 0.860) on average between 2013 and 2022. On average, a 2.43% (95% CI: −5.78, 0.92, p = 0.133) increase per year was observed for the costs of cannabinoid-based Sativex from 2013 to 2022. Conclusion: The results suggested that cannabinoid-based Sativex should be considered an option due to its effectiveness, acceptable tolerance, and safety profile in the prescribing of Sativex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2342318
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date8 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024

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