Single Dose Of Synthetic 'Magic Mushroom' Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression

Single Dose Of Synthetic 'Magic Mushroom' Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression

A single dose of a synthetic version of the psychedelic drug psilocybin, along with psychological support, reduced symptoms in people with treatment-resistant depression, a new study found. We compared the effects of synthetic versions of the mind-altering ingredients of magic mushrooms at milligram doses, 10 milligram doses, and 1 milligram doses on symptoms of depression.The drugs were administered in the presence of a trained therapist. it was done. Participants in this study met with their therapist several times before and after the psilocybin session.

The results of the study, published Nov. 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed an almost immediate reduction in symptoms of depression, with the greatest effect in those who took 25 milligrams of synthetic psilocybin. was seen

“This study is the largest clinical trial to date for the use of psilocybin in treatment-resistant depression, in which a single dose of 25 mg of psilocybin reduced depressive symptoms in participants compared to a dose of 1 mg. Dr. James Rucker, a consulting psychiatrist at King's College London who participated in the study, said in a press release. Our work now is to evaluate psilocybin in a larger clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression with more participants and compare it to both placebo and established treatments. ' he added.

Millions with treatment-resistant depression

A clinical study conducted at 22 locations in the United States, Canada, and Europe was designed to test the safety and efficacy of various dosages of a synthetic version of psilocybin. Researchers enrolled 233 patients with treatment-resistant depression. It is defined as failure to respond to two or more courses of antidepressant therapy. According to one study, an estimated 2.8 million people in the United States have treatment-resistant depression, and nearly 9 million Americans are receiving treatment for major depressive disorder.

People with this condition experience more severe and prolonged depression and are at higher risk of disability, physical illness, hospitalization and suicide, write the authors of the new study. Antidepressant use had to be reduced and completely discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to the first study visit. rice field.

"However, [antidepressant treatment] can be started at any time during the study if the investigator deems it clinically necessary," the authors wrote.

Researchers assessed participants' depression severity prior to the psilocybin session using a psychological scale widely used by clinicians. This assessment was repeated several times during the 12-week follow-up period. Supervised by two therapists, the psilocybin sessions lasted him six to eight hours. Participants were randomly assigned to her one of three doses. Prior to the treatment session, the participant met with the therapist at least three times. Over the next week, they met with a therapist two more times.

“Notable” results from psilocybin

Anthony Back, a doctoral oncologist, palliative care expert, and professor of medicine at UW Medicine in Seattle, said psilocybin-supported therapy elicited some "remarkable" responses in the study. , in the 25-milligram dose group, "there was a pretty big benefit, and it happened very quickly." In addition, according to the study, 29% were in remission at that time.

In contrast, only 19% and 18% of the 10 and 1 milligram groups, respectively, showed improvement in symptoms by week 3. After 12 weeks, 20% had shown symptomatic improvement by then.

Additionally, at 12 weeks, the difference in outcome between the 25 mg and 1 mg groups was no longer statistically significant. Bertha Madras, director of the Addiction Neurobiology Laboratory at Harvard Medical School-McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, wrote in an accompanying editorial that the findings were "both intriguing and sobering." increase. She did not participate in the study. The 37% response rate in the 25-milligram dose group was lower than in a 2021 phase II clinical trial comparing psilocybin and the antidepressant escitalopram, she noted. However, in this study, participants had moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder and received two doses of psilocybin.

Safety profile of psilocybin

Overall, Buck said the results of the new study were encouraging and show the potential of psilocybin as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression.

"But it's not a perfect treatment." he said. "Some didn't respond, while others had relapses of depression." Ideally, these studies should have a longer follow-up period of six months or longer, he said.

Potential side effects

Of the participants in the new study, 77% experienced side effects such as headache, nausea and dizziness. These types of serious side effects were seen in all studies of treatment-resistant depression, Buck said.

"This suggests that people with treatment-resistant depression need ongoing psychological support to monitor [for signs of suicidal ideation or self-harm]. This is one of the reasons he believes supportive care should be given in the presence of a trained clinician and with ongoing psychological follow-up.

“This is not DIY. It's hard to deal with," he said. "This is a warning to anyone thinking, 'Get some mushrooms and try them yourself.'"

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