The active ingredient in Ecstasy, MDMA, is safe and can help to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, a new clinical psychotherapy trial shows.
"We obtained FDA approval for our first clinical trial in 2001," Mithoefer says. "We began our first phase two clinical trial here in Charleston in 2004 treating mostly crime-related PTSD such as childhood abuse or rape in individuals who had failed to respond to psychotherapy and medications."
More research is needed to fully assess the drug, caution the authors of the US Food and Drug Administration-approved experiment. The study included just 26 patients, all of them veterans, firefighters and police officers who developed PTSD as a result of trauma in the line of duty.
MDMA -- or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- has been illegal in the United States since 1985.
"MDMA has some stimulant effects as well as psychoactive effects," said Dr. Michael C. Mithoefer, lead author of the study and a psychiatrist in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The drug is sometimes described as an "empathogen" or "entactogen," he added, because it "rarely causes hallucinations or disorientation and tends to increase feelings of empathy and trust and increased awareness of inner experience."
Bottom line, from the study text:
Active doses (75 mg and 125 mg) of MDMA with adjunctive psychotherapy in a controlled setting were effective and well tolerated in reducing PTSD symptoms in veterans and first responders.
Link: '3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans, firefighters, and police officers: a randomised, double-blind, dose-response, phase 2 clinical trial'