MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Treatment of PTSD: Results from US Pilot Study

Dr. Mithoefer reports data from the completed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 21 subjects with treatment-resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and on the subsequent long-term follow up of these subjects more than 1 year after the study's completion. He also describes the design and progress of a dose-response MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in US war veterans that he expects to complete in 2011.

Preliminary results suggest long-term efficacy of the treatment after more than one year after study completion. Case reports indicate that psychiatrists administered MDMA as a catalyst to psychotherapy prior to its criminalization in 1985. This clinical trial was the first to be sponsored by MAPS to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MDMA as a therapeutic adjunct and has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology

More than 60% of PTSD patients are refractory to both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. 21 subjects with chronic PTSD were randomly assigned to either psychotherapy with concomitant MDMA or an inactive placebo group. Both groups received preparatory and integrative non-drug psychotherapy. The primary outcome measure was the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) administered by a blinded independent rater. CAPS scores decreased significantly greater than placebo for the MDMA group at all measured time points. There were no drug-related adverse events. Based on CAPS scores, neurocognitive testing, blood pressure and body temperature monitoring data, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be administered to PTSD patients without evidence of harm in a therapeutic setting and may be useful in PTSD patients who are refractory to other treatments. The design and progress of a dose-response MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study in 16 U.S. war veterans expected to begin in 2010 will also be discussed.

This video is from Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference taking in place in San Jose, California on April 15-18, 2010. The conference was organized by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in collaboration with the Heffter Research Institute, the Council on Spiritual Practices, and the Beckley Foundation.

Medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals can earn Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Education (CME/CE) credits by viewing these videos through the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) at

This video was produced by Teal Sievers of Living Dream Films (

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