Ecstasy may help PTSD patients

Preliminary research has shown that MDMA (or Ecstacy) may play a role in treating severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when used in conjunction with intensive therapy in a very controlled setting. When used in this manner, MDMA was so effective that 80% of all participants had resolution of their PTSD symptoms after the end of the trial.

Before its classification as a schedule 1 drug in the US in 1985, MDMA was often used as an adjunct to overall psychotherapy because of reports that it could temporarily "decrease feelings of fear while maintaining a clear-headed, alert state of consciousness."

For the MAPS sponsored study, 20 patients older than 21 years with chronic PTSD were enrolled and were assigned to receive either an MDMA capsule or a placebo during the course of two 8-hour "experimental psychotherapy sessions."

Eighty percent of participants who took MDMA were no longer classified as having PTSD after two months. After two months, participants in the placebo group were offered the study drug. Seven of eight opted to add the MDMA, and did equally as well as their counterparts who took the medication initially.

Another newly approved study will focus on US veterans with war-related PTSD.

Read a more detailed article on ScienceDaily.