3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of chronic PTSD

findings support previous investigations of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an innovative efficaciou

  1. Pjotr777
    Study Author(s):
    Ot'alora G M, Grigsby J, Poulter B, Van Derveer JW 3rd, Giron SG, Jerome L, Feduccia AA, Hamilton S, Yazar-Klosinski B, Emerson A, Mithoefer MC, Doblin R.
    Journal Name:
    Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2018 Dec;32(12):1295-1307
    Publication Date:
    2018 Oct 29
    Posttraumatic stress disorder often does not resolve after conventional psychotherapies or pharmacotherapies. Pilot studies have reported that 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) combined with psychotherapy reduces posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.

    This pilot dose response trial assessed efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy across multiple therapy teams.

    Twenty-eight people with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder were randomized in a double-blind dose response comparison of two active doses (100 and 125 mg) with a low dose (40 mg) of MDMA administered during eight-hour psychotherapy sessions. Change in the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale total scores one month after two sessions of MDMA served as the primary outcome. Active dose groups had one additional open-label session; the low dose group crossed over for three open-label active dose sessions. A 12-month follow-up assessment occurred after the final MDMA session.

    In the intent-to-treat set, the active groups had the largest reduction in Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale total scores at the primary endpoint, with mean (standard deviation) changes of -26.3 (29.5) for 125 mg, -24.4 (24.2) for 100 mg, and -11.5 (21.2) for 40 mg, though statistical significance was reached only in the per protocol set ( p=0.03). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms remained lower than baseline at 12-month follow-up ( p<0.001) with 76% ( n=25) not meeting posttraumatic stress disorder criteria. There were no drug-related serious adverse events, and the treatment was well-tolerated.

    Our findings support previous investigations of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as an innovative, efficacious treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder.