This double-blind cross-over trial (n=42) finds that LSD (2x 200 μg) significantly reduced anxiety (STAI-G) scores up to three months after treatment. The patients, both with and without a life-threatening illness, also improved on measures of depression (HAM-D, BDI). Those with more subjective drug effects and mystical-type experiences had better outcomes.
Background This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted therapy in patients who suffered from anxiety with or without association to a life threatening illness.
Methods The study is an investigator-initiated two-center trial that used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-period, random-order, crossover design with two sessions with either oral LSD (200 μg) or placebo per period. The primary endpoint was anxiety symptoms 16 weeks after the last treatment session, assessed by Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory–Global (STAI-G) score in 42 patients. Further outcome measures included ratings for depression symptoms (BDI [Beck Depression Inventory] and HAM-D-21 [Hamilton Depression Rating Scale]) and ratings for acute subjective drug effects. The outcomes for the first period, (between-subjects analysis) are primarily shown due to carry-over effects.
Results LSD treatment resulted in significant reductions of STAI-G scores up to 16 weeks after treatment (least square mean (± SE) change from baseline difference = -16.2 (5.8), 95% CI=-27.8 to -4.5, d=-1.18, p=0.007). Similar effects were observed for ratings of comorbid depression on the HAM-D-21 (-7.0 (1.9), 95% CI=-10.8 to -3.2, d=-1.1, p=0.0004) and the BDI (-6.1 (2.6), 95% CI=-11.4 to -0.9, d=-0.72, p=0.02). Positive acute subjective drug effects and mystical-type experiences correlated with the long-term reductions in anxiety symptoms. Transient, mild, acute untoward effects of LSD treatment were reported by eight patients (19%). One treatment-related serious adverse event (acute transient anxiety) occurred (2%).
Conclusion LSD produced long-lasting and notable reductions of anxiety and comorbid depression symptoms up to 16 weeks.“
Authors: Friederike Holze, Peter Gasser, Felix Müller, Patrick C. Dolder & Matthias E. Liechti
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Lysergic acid diethylamide-assisted therapy in patients with anxiety with and without a life-threatening illness A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study
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September 2, 2022
Authors associated with this publication with profiles on BlossomFelix Müller
Felix Müller is a researcher at the University of Basel. He is leading the research project on psychedelics at the Department of Psychiatry.
Peter Gasser has done work on LSD and life-threatening diseases in Switzerland since 2008. He is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and study lead, working in private practice.
Institutes associated with this publicationUniversity of Basel
The University of Basel Department of Biomedicine hosts the Liechti Lab research group, headed by Matthias Liechti.
The psychedelics given at which dose and how many timesLSD 200 μg | 2x
Linked Clinical TrialLSD Treatment in Persons Suffering From Anxiety Symptoms in Severe Somatic Diseases or in Psychiatric Anxiety Disorders
To test the efficacy of LSD in patients with anxiety with or without life-threatening diseases.