Sativex approved for MS spasticity in Scotland

21 September 2022

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has accepted that Sativex can be offered to people with MS in Scotland for the treatment of MS spasticity.

This means that specialist health professionals can offer a four-week trial of Sativex to people with moderate to severe MS-related spasticity which has not been improved by other treatments. At the end of the trial, if their spasticity-related symptoms have improved, they can continue taking Sativex.

The decision brings access to Sativex in Scotland in line with access in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where NICE approved Sativex as a cost-effective treatment in November 2019. However, there is still variation in access across the country, because some hospital trusts and health boards have not yet made the drug available.

You can download the SMC public statement.

As a charity, the MS Trust has campaigned over a long period for Sativex to be widely available. We submitted evidence to both NICE and SMC about the impact that access to Sativex could have for people living with MS-related spasticity, and would like to thank everyone who contributed their personal and professional experiences to our research. 

We are pleased that access to Sativex is now more equal across the UK, and we know that this will greatly improve quality of life for many in the MS community. The challenge ahead is to ensure that everyone eligible can access this treatment.

David Martin, Chief Executive Officer, MS Trust

About Sativex

Sativex is a mouth spray prepared from cannabis plants containing two chemicals - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) - in equal proportions. You take Sativex by spraying it into your mouth. The number of sprays is gradually increased each day until you reach a dose which relieves your muscle stiffness but gives you minimal side effects. The dose can be adjusted if your symptoms get better or worse, up to a maximum of 12 sprays per day.

Sativex has been studied extensively in clinical trials and is licensed in the UK as an add-on treatment for spasticity where other drugs have failed. It can only be prescribed by specialist doctors with experience of treating MS spasticity – consultant neurologists, consultant rehabilitation specialists and consultant pain specialists. If you respond well to Sativex, ongoing prescriptions may be managed by your GP.

Trials show that Sativex does not work for everyone, but for those people who do respond to it, the improvement in MS-related spasticity can be significant.

Find out more