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October 16, 2021

MDMA, psilocybin ‘may show promise’ in disorders

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An independent report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on the benefits/effects of MDMA and psilocybin has been released, which shows they ‘may show promise in highly selected populations, but only where these medicines are administered in closely clinically supervised settings and with intensive professional support’.

The report’s summary says, ‘There has been increasing interest in the use of Methylene Dioxymeth Amphetamine (MDMA) and Psilocybin in the treatment of mental, behavioural or developmental disorders. Although there have been several recent systematic reviews, studies and participants have been limited, and the field is rapidly evolving with the publication of more studies’.

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Of the trials undertaken, the report’s authors say ‘MDMA […] resulted in statistically significant improvements in social anxiety in adults with autism when compared to placebo. However, the results for anxiety in life threatening disease were non-significant, although participant numbers were low. Effect sizes were large in all comparisons, but with wide confidence intervals’.

As for Psilocybin, the authors say ‘One study reported statistically significant differences between psilocybin and placebo (niacin) in treatment-resistant depression while another reported statistically significant differences between high and low dose psilocybin for subjects with anxiety or depression in life threatening disease. Psilocybin was superior to remaining on a wait-list in a third study, and equally effective as a registered antidepressant (escitalopram) in a fourth study. In a fifth study, there were no statistically significant differences between psilocybin and controls at the two-week follow-up, although both groups showed longer-term improvements following cross-over’. The report is available at TGA panel.

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  1. Taking “these medicines administered in closely clinically supervised settings and with intensive professional support” sounds terrifying!


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