The Costs and Health Benefits of Expanded Access to MDMA-assisted Therapy for Chronic and Severe PTSD in the USA: A Modeling Study

This study (2022) uses a decision-analytic model to assess the cost and health benefits of expanded access to MDMA-assisted therapy (MDMA-AT) in the phase III clinical trials from MAPS. Expanding access to MDMA-AT to 25-75% of eligible patients was projected to avert 43,618-106,932 deaths and gain 3.3-8.2 million quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).


Background and objective: Intensive psychotherapy assisted with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA-AT) was shown in Phase 3 clinical trials to substantially reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms compared to psychotherapy with placebo. This study estimates potential costs, health benefits, and net savings of expanding access to MDMA-AT to eligible US patients with chronic and severe PTSD.

Methods: Using a decision-analytic model, we compared the costs, deaths averted, and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained of three, 10-year MDMA-AT coverage targets (25%, 50%, and 75%) compared to providing a standard of care to the same number of eligible patients with chronic and severe PTSD. We used a payer perspective and discounted costs (in US$) and QALYs to 2020. We conducted one-way, scenario, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses and calculated the net monetary value of MDMA-AT using a cost-effectiveness threshold of $100,000 per QALY gained.

Results: Expanding access to MDMA-AT to 25-75% of eligible patients is projected to avert 43,618-106,932 deaths and gain 3.3-8.2 million QALYs. All three treatment targets are dominant or cost-saving compared to the standard of care. Our sensitivity analyses found that accounting for parameter uncertainty and changes in various assumptions did not alter the main finding-MDMA-AT is dominant compared to standard of care.

Conclusion: Expanding access to MDMA-AT to patients with chronic and severe PTSD will provide substantial health and financial benefits. The precise magnitude is uncertain and will depend on the number of eligible patients and other inputs.”

Authors: Anton L. V. Avancena, James G. Khan & Elliot Marseille

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Institutes associated with this publication

Global Initiative for Psychedelic Science Economics
The Global Initiative for Psychedelic Science Economics (GIPSE) is a network of health economists dedicated to achieving the potential of psychedelic therapies for high-priority mental health conditions. 

MAPS stands for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, it's the front runner in making psychedelics a legal way to use (and improve) in therapy.

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