Post-traumatic stress disorder could be successfully treated with the dance drug ecstasy, research has shown.
Doctors in the US found that controlled use of the drug during psychotherapy sessions had a profound and lasting impact on patients who had been suffering from the condition for more than 19 years, allowing some patients that had previously struggled to hold down a job to return to work.
The study focused on two eight-hour psychotherapy sessions that were held three to five weeks apart during which an initial dose of 125 milligrams of MDMA was followed by an additional 62.5 milligram dose two hours later with the agreement of patients.
Doctors found that after two months, 80% of patients who had previously been considered to be untreatable no longer had any symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
By comparison, only two out of eight patients who took part in a placebo exercise showed improvement.
Writing in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the researchers said: “This pilot study demonstrates that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with close follow-up monitoring and support can be used with acceptable and short-lived side effects in a carefully screened group of subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD.
“In this group, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy produced clinically and statistically significant improvements in PTSD symptoms”
Copyright Press Association 2010