Psilocybin causes ‘significant reduction’ in symptoms of depression, says largest study of its kind
At the 2022 American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting that began May 21 in New Orleans, Louisiana, COMPASS course unveiled the “largest randomized, controlled, double-blind study of psilocybin therapy ever,” according to a May 24 statement Press releaseand the data show “significant” improvements in symptoms of treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
Participants received a single dose of experimental psilocybin COMP360, in doses of 25 mg or 10 mg, compared to 1 mg in patients with TRD. For the study, 233 patients with TRD received 1mg, 10mg, or 25mg of psilocybin COMP360, along with psychological support from therapists. Symptoms of depression were calculated using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
The MADRS system has been used in the world of psychiatry since 1979 and measures apparent sadness (dejection, gloom), reported sadness, inner tension (uneasiness, restlessness, dread), reduced sleep, reduced appetite, and difficulty concentrating, usually in a ten-point questionnaire.
People who received a 25mg dose of psilocybin COMP360 along with psychological support experienced a “highly statistically significant reduction in symptoms of depression after three weeks.” The difference between the group that received 25 mg and the group that received 1 mg was -6.6 on the MADRS Depression Scale at week three.
The effects also lasted a very long time – up to three months, in some cases. The results show that psilocybin provides “a rapid and lasting response for up to 12 weeks”.
Twice as many patients who received 25 mg (20.3%) had a “sustained response” at week 12 compared to those who received 1 mg (10.1%). Both tolerability and side effects were reported mostly favorably, despite some reports commonly seen in people with TRD, such as self-harm, but this was usually more than a month after treatment.
“Treatment-resistant depression is one of the biggest challenges we face in psychiatry, and the odds of success diminish with each treatment a patient tries,” said David J Hellerstein MD, the trial’s principal investigator. and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Irving University Medical Center. “It is rare to see such positive results from clinical trials in this area of the disease, which is why these results are so significant. I hope this will be a major step in finding new options for people living with treatment-resistant depression.
Columbia University Department of Psychiatry said last year that his study is the “largest to date using psilocybin to treat depression in people who are not helped by existing therapies”. Tough challenges require thinking outside the box, in this case with the active alkaloids of psilocybin mushrooms. Even Canadian Senator Larry Campbell has admitted to taking microdoses of psilocybin for the treatment of depression.
“Our mission is to develop mental health innovations through scientific evidence, which is why we are so honored to present the largest study of its kind at the APA,” said Dr. Guy Goodwin, Chief Medical Officer from COMPASS Pathways. “In this study, a significant number of patients experienced improvement in their symptoms of depression after a single 25 mg dose of psilocybin with psychological support, with effects lasting for up to three months of the study. We now need to continue our research to understand if this can be replicated in even larger trials. »
COMPASS is based in London, with offices in New York and San Francisco, with clinical studies in North America and Europe.
There is a divide beliefs surrounding serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While some say SSRIs are a lifesaver, others say they instead create an unnatural imbalance of neurotransmitters. Only a doctor can give you the final answer to this question, and it is assumed that people with TRD have already ruled out SSRI drugs like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa.
The study cites data showing that more than 320 million people worldwide suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD). About a third of these patients – or 100 million people –are not helped by existing therapies and therefore have TRD.
And the most worrying data point? As much as 30% of them attempt suicide at least once in their life.
Either way, psilocybin presents an entirely new mechanism for controlling treatment-resistant depression. The APA will also host an online experience June 7-10 in case you missed the May event in New Orleans.