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Ann Pharmacother. 2014 Apr 16;48(7):908-915. [Epub ahead of print]

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine's (MDMA's) Impact on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

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  • 1University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Hartford, CT, USA Charles.white@uconn.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Review the current literature assessing the role of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

DATA SOURCES:

OVID MEDLINE search (1960-February 2014) using the terms MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, Molly, and Ecstasy crossed with posttraumatic stress disorder with backwards citation tracking using references from procured articles.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION:

English language studies assessing MDMA in patients with PTSD.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were conducted along with follow-up open-label and extension evaluations. In the 3 RCTs, therapy with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is promising, with reductions in PTSD rating scale scores (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, Severity of Symptoms Scale for PTSD Scale), although 2 of 3 trials did not show significant results, and all three had methodological limitations. The direction of effect for all trials was toward benefit in patients who were refractory to other PTSD therapies; the percentage reductions on rating scores ranged from 23% to 68%; and in 1 trial, the effect was sustained over a long period of time. MDMA ingestion without sustained psychotherapy over a 6- to 8-hour period is unlikely to be beneficial; trying to prolong the duration of effect with supplemental dosing is unlikely to provide additional benefits; and there are adverse effects on blood pressure and heart rate that should be appreciated. These studies used unadulterated MDMA with known and reproducible potency, which may not happen with street purchase of the product.

CONCLUSIONS:

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be an effective therapy in refractory PTSD but needs further evaluation to determine its place in contemporary therapy.

© The Author(s) 2014.

KEYWORDS:

MDMA; Molly/Ecstasy; PTSD; posttraumatic stress disorder; psychotherapy

PMID:
24740469
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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