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Dr Marie Sartain
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Psilocybin may be safe and effective as treatment for MDD

Results from a new study published in JAMA find that among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), a single 25-mg dose of psilocybin led to a steady reduction in depressive symptoms and helped improve psychosocial functioning. The goal of the research was to examine the safety and efficacy of using psilocybin in patients with MDD.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase II trial was conducted at 11 research sites across the United States between December 2019 and June 2022 and comprised of 104 adults diagnosed with MDD.

Participants received either a single 25-mg dose of psilocybin or a placebo with a 100-mg dose of niacin along with psychological support. Primary and secondary outcomes were evaluated at different time points up to 43 days after dosing.

Treatment with psilocybin was associated with a notable reduction in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale scores compared with niacin from baseline to day 8 and baseline to day 43.

In addition, psilocybin treatment reduced Sheehan Disability scores significantly compared with niacin from baseline to day 43. Additional measures showed improvements in such areas as global disease severity, self-reported depressive and anxiety symptoms, and improved quality of life. Psilocybin treatment did not lead to emotional blunting, which is an adverse effect of standard antidepressant medications.

The researchers concluded that psilocybin may be a possible intervention for MDD, as it helped reduce a variety of depressive symptoms and also improved overall functioning, anxiety symptoms, and quality of life for study participants.

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