Friday, January 21, 2011

Ecstasy Helps Treat PTSD Patients, Trial Finds

By David S Morgan:

(CBS) People suffering from the agony of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may one day find relief with Ecstasy.

A small clinical trial found that 80 percent of participants treated with a combination of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and psychotherapy no longer showed signs of PTSD, with no serious side effects.

Three people who also said the disorder prevented them from going to work were able to return to their jobs after the treatment.

The study is the first completed clinical trial evaluating MDMA as a therapeutic adjunct since it was criminalized in 1985 owing to recreational use of the drug, known by its street name Ecstasy.

Twenty patients who had suffered with chronic PTSD for an average of more than 19 years and who had not obtained relief from both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology were randomly assigned to two eight-hour psychotherapy sessions, with 12 subjects receiving the drug and eight receiving a placebo.

Both groups also received psychotherapy before and after the drugs were administered. Follow-ups were conducted four days and two months after each day-long session.

At all recorded times after baseline, a decrease in Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale scores was significantly greater for the group that received MDMA than for the placebo group.

The rate of clinical response, according to diagnostic criteria for PTSD as stipulated in the DSM-IV-TR, was 83 percent in the active treatment group, versus 25 percent in the placebo group. Read more>>

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