An eating disorder is a severe mental health condition that may have damaging emotional and physical consequences for the sufferer. Common eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa.
New research has found that MDMA-assisted therapy decreased symptoms of eating disorders in adults suffering from severe PTSD. MDMA, which is commonly known as ecstasy, has demonstrated promise in the treatment of a range of mental health conditions, especially when administered in combination with other therapeutic interventions.
The FDA recently granted breakthrough therapy designation for MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, recognizing that it had shown significant improvement over current therapies.
The goal of this team of researchers was to look into whether MDMA could help individuals manage their eating disorder symptoms. For their study, the researchers examined data obtained from a randomized placebo-controlled phase III study involving MDMA’s administration to patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
During the trial, the therapy was administered to 90 participants, who each underwent three 90-minute preparatory therapy sessions, three 8-hour active placebo or MDMA sessions, and nine 90-minute integrative psychotherapy sessions. The trial, which was conducted over an 18-week period, used the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale to evaluate the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The researchers discovered that MDMA was well tolerated by the patients, noting that they also observed a significant decrease in symptoms of PTSD among patients who received the MDMA therapy, in comparison to those who received the placebo.
The researchers also used the Eating Attitudes Test 26 tool, which evaluates a range of symptoms of eating disorders. Before the treatment, 13 participants met the criteria for clinically substantial concern about body weight, dieting or problematic eating behaviors. Another 28 patients recorded scores that showed that they were at risk for eating disorders.
The researchers asked the participants to complete a questionnaire that included questions about their attitudes toward food before the treatment and again after. They discovered that while symptoms of eating disorders reduced in patients who received MDMA as well as those who received the placebo, the reduction was bigger among those who received the MDMA therapy.
In their report, the researchers stated that their findings were in line with prior reports, which showed that symptoms of eating disorders were linked to PTSD. They cited some of the study’s limitations, including the fact that syndromal eating disorders weren’t studied exclusively, which meant that the discovery’s generalizability to the treatment of eating disorders was limited.
The researchers advised that future studies look into the feasibility and safety of MDMA-assisted therapy in patients with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
Various entities such as COMPASS Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) are unearthing more medicinal uses of different psychedelic compounds. The years to come look promising as these novel treatments complete the clinical trial process and get approval for use in countries around the world.
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