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MS Society: Spray could 'significantly improve quality of life'

This is Staffordshire, 28th May 2006

The drug Sativex - which is administered by spraying under the tongue - has yet to be given a licence in the UK but can be prescribed on import from Canada with the approval of the Home Office. Patients can only get the drug if it has been signed off by their GP or a consultant, but many are unwilling to do so because it is untested.

Local health trusts will also have to agree to pay for the £4-a-day medicine before any patient can be treated on the NHS.

But campaigners say Sativex - which is already freely available in Canada and currently undergoing tests in the USA - will provide much-needed pain relief for sufferers of neuropathic pain or MS.

Mike O'Donovan, chief executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society said: "We believe there is now good evidence that cannabis-derived medicine can relieve distressing symptoms like spasticity and pain in MS.

"Many people do not find available treatments effective and will now have the opportunity to try a new drug which could significantly improve their quality of life. We very much hope it will not be long before it is licensed for NHS prescription."

The drug has been known to have side-effects similar to those of cannabis intoxication as well as changes of mood and a decrease in cognitive performances and memory.

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