Two essential parts of conducting methodologically rigorous and state-of-the-art MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research are standardizing the method of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy itself and the method by which data is collected about subjects’ PTSD symptoms. We have standardized our treatment in our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy treatment manual and related adherence criteria. Having a consistent, reliable way to measure PTSD symptoms at baseline and over time during and after treatment is also essential.
MAPS has recently completed the development of a training manual for independent raters who conduct the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) interviews in our international series of Phase 2 MDMA/PTSD pilot studies. The CAPS is the primary measure used by clinicians and therapists worldwide for evaluating the severity of PTSD symptoms, and is the principle measure we use to assess the effectiveness of our treatment method.
The CAPS training manual will be supplemented by video tutorials of CAPS interviews, drawn from actual recordings of interviews with subjects enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in veterans of war. By building on the training materials provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, creating Hebrew and Arabic versions of the CAPS through rigorous double back translation methods, and providing a uniform set of training tools for independent raters, we will be able to standardize how the CAPS is administered across study sites. This is a necessary step before moving on to the larger Phase 3 studies required for federal approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a legal treatment for PTSD.