Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy in 12 Subjects With PTSD

This small (“pilot”) study is designed to provide information on whether the combination of psychotherapy with the drug MDMA is safe and helpful for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers will use the results of this study to design more studies of this treatment. The study compares a comparator (placebo) and a full dose.

Topic PTSD
Compound Placebo MDMA
Status Completed
Results Published
Start date 09 January 2013
End date 04 January 2017
Chance of happening 100%
Phase Phase II
Design Blinded
Type Interventional
Generation First
Participants 6
Sex All
Age 21- 99
Therapy Yes

Trial Details

For each session, there will be an initial dose possibly followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by a dose half the size of the initial dose. The study will measure symptoms of PTSD, depression, general psychological well-being, sleep quality, feelings that the self or world is unreal (dissociation), potentially positive effects of surviving traumatic events and cognitive function (thinking, memory and attention). People experiencing pain or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) will record their symptoms throughout the study. Seven people will be randomly (by chance) assigned to receive full-dose MDMA and five will be randomly assigned to receive a comparator. There will be three preparatory psychotherapy sessions before the first experimental session, and subjects will have supportive or "integrative" sessions after each MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session. Subjects will meet with a male and female psychotherapist for all experimental sessions and for sessions before and after each experimental session. Subjects who received comparator can enroll in Stage 2, where they will have three open-label MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions, meaning everyone will know they are receiving an active dose of MDMA. Subjects receiving full dose in Stage 1 will have a third experimental session.. Symptoms of PTSD and other symptoms will be measured again at least 12 months after each subject has started the study.

NCT Number NCT01958593

Sponsors & Collaborators

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.


Long-term Follow-Up Outcomes of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for Treatment of PTSD: A Longitudinal Pooled Analysis of Six Phase 2 Trials
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy showed a very large effect (d=1.58, 56% no longer met PTSD criteria) which improved at 12-months follow-up (d=0.43, 67%).

Measures Used

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5
The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) is often considered the gold standard in PTSD assessment. The 30-item structured interview was developed by staff at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Centre for PTSD. CAPS can be used to make a current diagnosis, lifetime diagnosis or assess PTSD symptoms over the past week in accordance with DSM-5 criteria.

Beck Depression Inventory
The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) contains 21 self-report items, completed using a multiple-choice format. Scores range from 0-63 with higher scores associated with more severe depression.

Data attribution

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