Study finds that MDMA has long-term benefits for treating PTSD

pharmafile | June 11, 2020 | News story | Business Services MDMA, PTSD 

PTSD patients being treated with MDMA experience numerous beneficial effects that hold strong for well after a year after completing therapy, according to a new study.

This is according to research published in Psychopharmacology which compiles data from six prior trials which include over 100 subjects.

At the original end-point of the trials used in the study, 56 percent of the group no longer met the clinical criteria for PTSD. The follow up data revealed continued improvements in most subjects for well over a year, with 67% subsequently no longer meeting the PTSD criteria. Other long term results noted reduction in suicidal thoughts and clinically significant symptoms.

The new study also suggests that this treatment does not lead to patients abusing MDMA or any other drug. The research noted that 94% of participants would like to continue MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions.

Treatment using MDMA usually takes between 8 to 12 weeks, using two to three day long MDMA psychotherapy sessions each spaced around a month apart. These also require extensive therapy sessions before and follow up sessions after.

Rick Doblin, co-author of the study, said: “These long-term follow-up findings show that once people with PTSD learn that they can productively process traumatic memories instead of suppressing them, they can continue to heal themselves even after they have stopped receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

These types of studies are helping MDMA become a clinically approved medicine after decades of prohibition and stigma. It is currently in Phase 3 human trials with the evidence suggesting it will be approved widely for treatment in the future. The FDA has recently granted Expanded Access to MDMA assisted treatments to allow certain patients to access it before approval.

Another co-author of the study, Berra Yazar-Klonsinki, said: “Although our Phase 3 trials are not yet completed, these long-term data support the hypothesis that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may provide significant advantages in treatment outcomes, safety, and durability over available PTSD treatments. This is the breakthrough that the world needs right now.”

FDA approval is expected to come sometime in 2022 as the Phase 3 trials will take between 12 to 18 months to complete.

Conor Kavanagh

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