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Ecstacy Could Become the New Face of PTSD Treatments

Dec 01, 2016 04:41 AM EST
Ecstacy
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) gave the green light for the Phase 3 clinical trial of Ecstacy as treatment for post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
(Photo : U.S. Customs/Newsmakers via Getty Images)

The well-known illegal party drug Ecstacy, or MDMA, is now one step closer on becoming the new face of treatment for post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, as the Food and Drugs Administration gave the green light for the Phase 3 clinical trial of the drug.

In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a total of 130 participants with PTSD reported a 56 percent decrease of severity of symptoms, with about two-thirds of them can't be classified as patient with PTSD.

"We can sometimes see this kind of remarkable improvement in traditional psychotherapy, but it can take years, if it happens at all," said Dr. Michael C. Mitheofer, a psychiatrists and one of the researchers of the study, in a report from New York Times. "We think it works as a catalyst that speeds the natural healing process."

Due to the stunning success of the Phase Two trial, the researchers have applied to the so-called breakthrough therapy status with the Food and Drug Administration. By applying in the status, the approval process of Ecstacy will be faster, making it available by 2021 if approved.

The Phase Three of the clinical trials will include at least 230 PTSD patients. The trials will be focused on combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and police and firefighters with PTSD that have struggled with its symptoms for more than 17 years, with no response to traditional prescription drugs or psychotherapy.

Despite the positive results of the clinical trials, many psychiatrists and scientists warned about the potential addictive nature of ecstacy. Just like opioid, ecstacy is a feel-good drug that can be abused for recreational use.

Ecstacy is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. This illegal party drug is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception. Some of the negative long-term effects of ecstacy abuse include increased anxiety, impulsiveness, aggression and problems with sleep, memory and attention.

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