Exploratory study of the dose-related safety, tolerability, and efficacy of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in healthy volunteers and major depressive disorder

This open-label study assessed the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of intravenous DMT (70mg/70kg followed by 210mg/70kg) in healthy participants (n=3) and participants with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (n=7). DMT was well-tolerated in both groups while depression scores decreased significantly the day after receiving the high dose. Adverse events were mostly mild and were resolved within 20-30 minutes of injection.

Abstract

“There is considerable interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a potent, rapid-onset, and short-acting psychedelic drug that has not yet been independently tested for the treatment of depression. The safety, tolerability, and efficacy of intravenous DMT were investigated in treatment-resistant individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls (HC) in an open-label, fixed-order, dose-escalation (0.1 mg/kg followed by 0.3 mg/kg) exploratory phase 1 study that was conducted in a typical hospital setting with strategic psychoeducation/support, but minimal psychotherapy. Tolerability, safety, cardiovascular function, abuse liability, psychedelic, psychotomimetic effects, mood, and anxiety were assessed at each dosing session. In addition, depression was measured using the HAMD-17 in MDD participants 1 day after each dosing session. DMT was tolerated by both HC (n = 3) and MDD participants (n = 7) studied; there were no dropouts. HAMD-17 scores decreased significantly (p = 0.017) compared to baseline in MDD participants the day after receiving 0.3 mg/kg DMT (mean difference −4.5 points, 95% CI: −7.80 to −1.20, Hedge’s g = 0.75). Adverse events were mostly mild with one self-limited serious event. DMT increased blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, psychedelic effects, and psychotomimetic effects, which resolved within 20–30 min of injection. There were no dose-related differences in measures of drug reinforcement and abuse liability. In this small exploratory pilot study, intravenous DMT at doses of 0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg was mostly safe and tolerated and may have next-day (rapid) antidepressant effects in patients with treatment-resistant MDD. Further rigorous trials are warranted to replicate these findings and to determine the durability of antidepressant effects.”

Authors: Deepak C. D’Souza, Shariful A. Syed, L. Taylor Flynn, Hamideh Safi-Aghdaam, Nicholas V. Cozzi & Mohini Ranganathan

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Study details

Compounds studied
DMT

Topics studied
Depression

Study characteristics
Open-Label

Participants
10 Humans

Authors

Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Deepak Cyril Dsouza
Deepak Cyril D’Souza, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine and a staff psychiatrist at VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS).

Institutes

Institutes associated with this publication

Yale University
The Yale Psychedelic Science Group was established in 2016.

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