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New MDMA Trials Moving Forward To Test Ecstasy As Treatment For PTSD

1 December 2016, 7:23 am EST By Livia Rusu Tech Times
New research may have found a more efficient way of treating patients who suffer from PTSD: by using MDMA, which is ecstasy in its purest form. The assisted drug treatment could be approved by the FDA.  ( Scott Olson | Getty Images )

MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, will be employed in treating patients who suffer from PTSD. The drug is also tested for its properties when it comes to treating terminally ill patients.

The tests conducted for possible PTSD treatments have had positive outcomes and researchers consider the approval of MDMA as a prescription drug sometime in the near future.

However, more tests should be carried out before this. The Food and Drug Administration already approved a Phase III trial as part of the procedure.

MDMA - Possible Medical Solution To PTSD

The first two studies treated patients for 12 weeks, in the form of psychotherapy sessions and MDMA sessions. The MDMA sessions lasted eight hours each, during which the patients were administered MDMA. After being given the drug, the patients would sit in a relaxing environment, surrounded by chill music, flowers and candles in order to suggest a calm state of mind to balance the euphoric effects of the drug.

In this mix, the MDMA treatment could help patients for whom the current methods have been proven to be inefficient in treating their symptoms. The team of researchers from Canada who started the trials is quite optimistic with the results so far.

The reason why MDMA could be an effective solution when treating PTSD patients is that it is an empathogen, which means it helps people feel empathy and trust.

"The biggest thing was there was a very increased level of trust. They were really able to talk about painful material from the past that they were never able talk about before in their life - they'd been so frightened they'd block it," noted psychiatrist Dr. Ingrid Pacey, lead author of the study.

FDA Approval - A Standard Treatment

A nonprofit organization that has been advocating for medical use of psychedelic drugs since 1985, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, funded the Phase II trials of the treatments. The association will also help in conducting the third phase of the trials, where up to 230 patients will be involved in the tests.

Consequently, there are also members of the medical community who disapprove of this medical practice, and fear that the federal approval of this solution as a standard treatment could support the illegal consumption of the drug, as well as self medication.

However, even if the drug is approved, it will not be publicly available until 2021, which gives researchers plenty of time to study the possible negative effects of this treatment when it comes to the possibility of misuse in PTSD patients.

"The medicine allows them to look at things from a different place and reclassify them. Honestly, we don't have to do much. Each person has an innate ability to heal. We just create the right conditions," noted Ann Mithoefer, psychiatric nurse.

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