MDMA improves PTSD symptoms, study finds

pharmafile | March 22, 2022 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

In findings presented at the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Spring Meeting for 2022, researchers reported on follow-up results form a Phase III 2021 trial in which MDMA was paired with therapy and tested for the treatment of PTSD.

The 2021 trial indicated significant efficacy for the treatment: after only three sessions, patients given MDMA during therapy were 35% less likely to meet the diagnosis for PTSD than those given a placebo.

Additionally, at the two-month follow-up, 88% of volunteers who underwent MDMA-assisted therapy reported a clinically significant reduction in their symptoms – 28% higher than those who received therapy with just a placebo.

At this follow-up, around two thirds of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

The drug was also reported to work in hard-to-treat patients, including those with drug or alcohol use disorders.

Researchers enrolled 90 patients with severe PTSD in the Phase III, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of MDMA-assisted therapy for treatment of this disorder.

The Phase III trial focused on participants attending an eight-hour therapy session after receiving their dose. Participants then received two MDMA-assisted therapy sessions a month apart, in addition to weekly therap.

Previous trials determined optimal doses of the drug.

“People in the phase 2 trial were better for years,” stated neuroscientist Jennifer Mitchell, from the University of California, San Francisco. “They seemed to have a new perspective on life and engaged more. As their social skill set built up, they were happier over time.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event, through either experiencing or witnessing it. It is characterised by amnesia, flashbacks, and nightmares related to the event, alongside difficulty sleeping, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Any situation an individual finds traumatic can cause PTSD. This includes road accidents, assaults, warfare, shocking events, disasters, childbirth, and abuse.

Roughly 6 in every 100 people in the US will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

Ana Ovey

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