APA: The Role of Psychedelics in Psychiatry

Summary: At this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) celebrates the success of MAPS’ first Phase 3 trial of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. “Perhaps psychedelics are a bridge between psychopharmacology and psychotherapy,” suggests Dr. Mithoefer during his presentation about the role of psychedelics in psychiatry.

Originally appearing here.

There is currently a paucity of novel pharmacological mechanisms in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders, and some commentators have called for a “disruptive pharmacology” to investigate new treatments with novel mechanisms using drugs that have previously been restricted by the FDA, including psychedelic agents. Over the course of the past decade, there has been a resurgence of research on the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic compounds, with the number of published review articles and clinical trial reports steadily increasing. Recent randomized clinical trials support the efficacy of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psilocybin in the treatment of depression and cancer-related anxiety. MDMA has been designated a “breakthrough therapy” for PTSD and psilocybin has been designated a “breakthrough therapy” for treatment-resistant depression by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clinical research data shows that both drugs can have a robust effect on psychiatric pathology that persists for months to years, and may provide a clinical advantage over the current standards of care. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently classifies both compounds as Schedule I substances. However, both drugs are currently in FDA clinical trials. If proven to be efficacious, MDMA and psilocybin could be rescheduled in the near future with clinical indications for the treatment of PTSD and depression, respectively. In this symposium leaders in psychedelic research from NYU, Usona Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) will present recent data that highlights the therapeutic potential of psychedelic compounds in psychiatry. Ethical and safety parameters will also be presented. The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion with questions and answers.