Recently released findings from a study show that the psilocybin therapy developed by Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) may be used to treat anorexia. The therapy in question, COMP 360, was primarily developed to treat depression. Anorexia or anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which individuals have abnormally low weight caused by restricting food intake and an extreme fear of gaining weight.
Psychiatrist Katherine A. Halmi believes that this eating disorder stems from the ego, explaining that the severity of the core features of the disorder, including preoccupations with exercising, eating, weight and body image, forecast higher resistance to treatment.
The study was carried out by Dr. Walter Kaye at the School of Medicine in the University of San Diego. It involved a sample of 10 patients with anorexia.
The researchers discovered that one dose of COMP 360 brought about clinically significant reductions in the psychopathology of eating disorders in 30% of the patients, as observed at the one-month follow up. Researchers also observed that at the three-month follow up, 40% of the patients experienced clinically significant reductions.
Overall, the researchers note that 9 of the 10 subjects involved in the study found the psychedelic experience to be therapeutic and meaningful, adding that no severe adverse events were reported.
Compass Pathways chief medical officer, Dr. Guy Goodwin, stated that the study’s results offered promising evidence that the COMP 360 therapy could be beneficial to individuals with anorexia. He added that the company’s interest in the therapy’s potential to treat the disorder needed to be further studied in larger-scale clinical studies.
The data adds to a growing body of scientific exploration into this specific application of psilocybin. These findings were shared last month at the Society of Biological Psychiatry Annual Meeting.
Other research institutions, including the Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University, are also recruiting patients with anorexia to take part in clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of psilocybin in the treatment of this condition.
At the moment, no FDA-approved medical treatment exists for anorexia. However, prior research as well as the data from this new study suggests the potential for psychedelics in this space. For instance, a study conducted in 2017 involving individuals with eating disorders found that ayahuasca could be used to improve emotional regulation and symptoms of these disorders.
Meanwhile, Compass Pathways plans to continue exploring the effect of its psilocybin therapy in managing treatment-resistant depression in a phase III trial that will be launched soon.
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