In a new study published Thursday, researchers reported that the psychedelic drug MDMA may reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The company that sponsored the study said it plans to seek U.S. approval later this year to market the drug, also known as ecstasy, as a treatment for PTSD in combination with talk therapy.
“This is the first innovation in PTSD treatment in more than 20 years. It’s also important because I think it opens up other innovations,” said CEO Amy Emerson. MAPS public interest corporationresearch sponsor.
At the beginning of this year, Australia became the first country Allowing psychiatrists to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms.drugs are on the rise wider cultural acceptance In the United States, this is thanks in part to efforts by the Interdisciplinary Society for Psychedelic Research, a nonprofit advocacy group.
In the new study, researchers randomly assigned 104 people with PTSD to receive either MDMA or dummy pills and measured their symptoms during three sessions, one month apart. Both groups received talk therapy.
Common side effects in the MDMA group were muscle tension, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. However, he was the only person in the MDMA group to drop out of the study.
After treatment, 86% of the MDMA group improved on standard PTSD assessments compared to 69% of the placebo group. This assessment measures symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and insomnia.
By the end of the study, 72% of those in the MDMA group no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, compared to about 48% in the placebo group.
“The results they’re getting are very exciting,” said Barbara Rothbaum, who directs the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program in Atlanta. She was not involved in the study published in Nature Medicine.
PTSD can also be treated with other medications and talk therapy.
“They’re very effective, but none are 100% effective,” Rothbaum says. “Therefore, we absolutely need more options for treatment.”
Before MDMA can be prescribed in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration must approve it and the Drug Enforcement Administration must change its classification. MDMA is currently classified as Schedule 1, the same as heroin, and is considered to have “no currently accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse.”
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