The effect of MDMA therapy for PTSD has lasted for years

The positive effect of MDMA-therapy vs post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is saved and a year after the end of treatment. To such conclusion the American researchers who analyzed the results of all six tests carried out therapy phase II: by the end of treatment, 56% of participants do not fall under necessary for a diagnosis of PTSD criteria, and a year later there were already 67 percent. Article published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Full-scale clinical trials of MDMA therapy as a treatment for PTSD in the United States approved in 2016, a year later she was already given the status of “breakthrough therapy”: this marking is usually given to the drugs and treatments that are planning to enter into medical practice in an expedited manner. Since then, studies of the effectiveness of therapy continues: clinical testing has not been completed, therefore, psychotherapeutic treatments has not yet been applied: however, in January it became known that 50 people with severe PTSD MDMA-therapy already appointed in the final test phase, however, they will not be included.

In particular, it is not yet clear whether the effect of such therapy in the long term: confirm that only the results of the first clinical trial in which participants were not informed about the return of the symptoms of the disorder for one and a half years after successful treatment. Lisa Jerome (Jerome Lisa) from the Multidisciplinary Association of psychedelic studies (MAPS), which conducts and sponsors studies of MDMA therapy in the USA, and her colleagues decided to combine the long-term results of all six clinical trials phase II: they were conducted from 2004 to 2017 in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland and Israel and included 107 participants.

MDMA therapy is not limited solely to the reception of a substance, and includes several long (up to eight hours) therapy sessions in which he “ecstasy” acts as a mediator and helps the patients to communicate with specialist. In clinical trials the participants took MDMA first before ninety-minute psychotherapy session, and then in front of two eight-hour sessions (between a month has passed). Progress in the treatment of PTSD was assessed using a standardized questionnaire to identify symptoms: the participants filled out before therapy, after graduation and a year. In the latest survey involved 91 people.

According to diagnostic surveys, the therapy has actually been effective: participants in all studies was observed less symptoms of PTSD than in the beginning of the test (p < 0.001). After a year, the effect remained, and the number of symptoms was also below — by comparison with a survey at the end of the trials themselves (p < 0.05). By the end of that clinical testing, 56% of participants no longer meet the criteria required for a diagnosis of PTSD; the following year there were already 67 percent.

The researchers concluded that the effect of MDMA-therapy persists for at least a year and, apparently, in the long term without therapy as such, it is also possible to observe positive dynamics. Now, however, you must wait until the phase III trials that include more patients and to see whether there was such positive dynamics among them.

Clinical trials of MDMA-therapy is carried out not only in the United States: three years ago in the UK such therapy approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

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