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Dose-Response Study of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy in People With PTSD

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01793610
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 15, 2013
Results First Posted : October 14, 2020
Last Update Posted : November 3, 2020
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Brief Summary:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that can develop after a traumatic life experience that severely reduces quality of life. This Phase 2 pilot study examined the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 23 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study is part of a global series of Phase 2 pilot clinical trials. This randomized, double-blind, dose response study assessed two active doses of MDMA, 100 mg and 125 mg, to a comparator dose of MDMA (40 mg) during psychotherapy sessions. The initial dose was followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by an optional supplemental dose of MDMA that was half the size of the first dose. MDMA was administered in two experimental sessions lasting up to eight hours and scheduled three to five weeks apart. Subjects were prepared for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy prior to the first session in three preparatory sessions, and worked with the same pair of therapists throughout the study. After each MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session, subjects had three integrative sessions with their therapist team to process and understand their experience.

This study assessed the change in symptoms of PTSD, as measured by the Clinical Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) [Blake et al., 1995], as well as symptoms of depression, as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) [Beck, A.T. and R.A, 1984; Beck, A.T., et al., 1996] from baseline enrollment to one month after the second MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session (primary endpoint).

Participants who received the comparator dose of MDMA (40 mg) were given the option to enroll in Stage 2, where they underwent three open-label MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions with an active dose of MDMA. People who received either of the active doses of MDMA in Stage 1 had a third MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session with another active dose of MDMA.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Drug: Comparative-dose (40mg) MDMA Drug: Active Dose 2 (100 mg) MDMA Drug: Active Dose 1 (125 mg) MDMA Behavioral: Psychotherapy Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, war, or any other life-threatening event. PTSD is a worldwide health problem that severely reduces a person's quality of life and is associated with high rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidity, disability, suffering, and suicide. At least a third of PTSD patients fail to respond to established PTSD psychotherapies. A wider array of effective treatments for PTSD are needed.

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy may be a potential treatment option for PTSD. MDMA is a monoamine releaser that affects serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. MDMA is capable of inducing unique psychopharmacological effects such as decreased feelings of fear, increased feelings of wellbeing, increased sociability and extroversion, increased interpersonal trust, and an alert state of consciousness. In the U.S., MDMA was used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by a considerable number of psychiatrists and therapists before it was placed in Schedule I in 1985 as a result of non-medical use.

This Phase 2 pilot study is a randomized, double-blind, dose response study to examine the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 23 subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD of at least six months duration. This study is part of a global series of Phase 2 pilot clinical trials. This study assessed two active doses of MDMA, active dose 1 (100 mg) and active dose 2 (125 mg), to a comparator dose of MDMA (40 mg) during psychotherapy sessions. The initial dose of MDMA was followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by an optional supplemental dose of MDMA that was half the size of the first dose. MDMA was administered orally in two experimental sessions lasting up to eight hours and scheduled three to five weeks apart.

Subjects were prepared for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in three preparatory sessions prior to the first experimental session, and worked with the same pair of therapists throughout the study. After each experimental session, three integrative sessions were scheduled with the subject, including one integrative session the morning after the experimental session. During integrative sessions, subjects processed and connected their thoughts and feelings about the experience with their therapist team.

Subjects who received the comparator dose (40 mg) were given the option to enroll in Stage 2, where they underwent three open-label MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. 100 mg of MDMA was administered in the first session and therapists determined whether to increase to 125 mg of MDMA for the second and third experimental sessions. People who received 125 mg of MDMA during the first two experimental sessions received the same dose during an open-label third experimental session. People who received 100 mg of MDMA during the first two sessions were able to choose, in consultation with their therapist, to either continue to receive 100 mg in a third session or to increase their dose to 125 mg.

A blinded independent rater (IR) assessed the severity of PTSD symptoms at baseline, one month after the second experimental session (the primary endpoint), two months after the third open-label experimental session, and at equivalent points in Stage 2.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 29 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Dose Response Phase 2 Pilot Study of Manualized MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in Subjects With Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Study Start Date : October 2012
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : February 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine


Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Comparator-dose (40 mg) MDMA and Psychotherapy
Participants receive an initial dose of comparator-dose MDMA (40 mg) during each of the two experimental sessions.
Drug: Comparative-dose (40mg) MDMA
An initial comparator-dose of 40 mg MDMA orally given at the start of two separate psychotherapy sessions scheduled 3 to 5 weeks apart, with the initial dose possibly followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by a supplemental dose half the size of the initial dose (20 mg MDMA).
Other Name: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine

Behavioral: Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy conducted throughout experimental sessions.
Other Name: Manualized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy

Experimental: Active Dose 2 (100 mg) MDMA and Psychotherapy
Participants receive an initial dose of Active Dose 2 MDMA (100 mg) during each of the two experimental sessions.
Drug: Active Dose 2 (100 mg) MDMA
An initial dose of full-dose 100 mg MDMA orally given at the start of two separate psychotherapy sessions scheduled 3 to 5 weeks apart, with the initial dose possibly followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by a supplemental dose half the size of the initial dose (50 mg MDMA).
Other Name: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine

Behavioral: Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy conducted throughout experimental sessions.
Other Name: Manualized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy

Experimental: Active Dose 1 (125 mg) MDMA and Psychotherapy
Participants receive an initial dose of Active Dose 1 MDMA (125 mg) during each of two experimental sessions.
Drug: Active Dose 1 (125 mg) MDMA
An initial dose of full-dose 125 mg MDMA orally given at the start of two separate psychotherapy sessions scheduled 3 to 5 weeks apart, with the initial dose possibly followed 1.5 to 2.5 hours later by a supplemental dose half the size of the initial dose (62.5 mg MDMA).
Other Name: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine

Behavioral: Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy conducted throughout experimental sessions.
Other Name: Manualized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) Total Severity Score at Baseline (ITT) [ Time Frame: Baseline Enrollment ]
    The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) is a clinician administered and scored assessment of PTSD symptoms via structured interview based upon PTSD diagnosis in DSM-IV. It contains symptom subscales, a CAPS-IV total severity score, and a diagnostic score. The total severity score is a sum of symptom frequency and intensity scores for the subscales B (re-experiencing), C (avoidance) and D (hypervigilance) and ranges from 0 to 136, with higher scores indicating greater severity of PTSD symptoms.

  2. Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) Total Severity Score at One Month Post 2nd Experimental Session (ITT) [ Time Frame: One month after 2nd experimental session (approximately 3 months post enrollment) ]
    The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) is a clinician administered and scored assessment of PTSD symptoms via structured interview based upon PTSD diagnosis in DSM-IV. It contains symptom subscales, a CAPS-IV total severity score, and a diagnostic score. The total severity score is a sum of symptom frequency and intensity scores for the subscales B (re-experiencing), C (avoidance) and D (hypervigilance) and ranges from 0 to 136, with higher scores indicating greater severity of PTSD symptoms.

  3. Change in Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) Total Severity Score From Baseline to One Month Post 2nd Experimental Session (ITT) [ Time Frame: Baseline Enrollment to 1-Month Post 2nd Experimental Session ]
    The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV) is a clinician administered and scored assessment of PTSD symptoms via structured interview based upon PTSD diagnosis in DSM-IV. It contains symptom subscales, a CAPS-IV total severity score, and a diagnostic score. The total severity score is a sum of symptom frequency and intensity scores for the subscales B (re-experiencing), C (avoidance) and D (hypervigilance) and ranges from 0 to 136, with higher scores indicating greater severity of PTSD symptoms.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) at Baseline (ITT) [ Time Frame: Baseline Enrollment ]
    Validated self-report measure of symptoms of depression. The BDI-II total score of 0-13 is considered minimal range, 14-19 is mild, 20-28 is moderate, and 29-63 is severe depressive symptoms. The scores range from 0 to 63, with higher score indicating greater severity of depressive symptoms.

  2. Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) at One Month Post 2nd Experimental Session (ITT) [ Time Frame: One month after 2nd experimental session (approximately 3 months post enrollment) ]
    Validated self-report measure of symptoms of depression. The BDI-II total score of 0-13 is considered minimal range, 14-19 is mild, 20-28 is moderate, and 29-63 is severe depressive symptoms. The scores range from 0 to 63, with higher score indicating greater severity of depressive symptoms.

  3. Change in Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) From Baseline to One Month Post 2nd Experimental Session (ITT) [ Time Frame: Baseline Enrollment to 1-Month Post 2nd Experimental Session ]
    Validated self-report measure of symptoms of depression. The BDI-II total score of 0-13 is considered minimal range, 14-19 is mild, 20-28 is moderate, and 29-63 is severe depressive symptoms. The scores range from 0 to 63, with higher score indicating greater severity of depressive symptoms.

  4. Change in Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) From Baseline to One Month Post 2nd Experimental Session (ITT) [ Time Frame: Baseline Enrollment to 1-Month Post 2nd Experimental Session ]
    The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is a self-rated questionnaire which assesses sleep quality and disturbances. It is comprised of 18 items that yield seven component scores. Component scores are summed to create a total score. Total scores range from 0 (better) to 21 (worse), with higher scores indicating poor sleep quality.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosed with chronic PTSD for six months or longer.
  • Have a CAPS score showing moderate to severe PTSD symptoms.
  • At least one unsuccessful attempt at treatment for PTSD either with talk therapy or with drugs, or discontinuing treatment because of inability to tolerate psychotherapy or drug therapy.
  • Are at least 18 years old.
  • Must be generally healthy.
  • Are willing to refrain from taking any psychiatric medications during the study period.
  • Willing to follow restrictions and guidelines concerning consumption of food, beverages or nicotine the night before and just prior to each MDMA session.
  • Willing to remain overnight at the study site.
  • Are willing to be driven home after experimental sessions either by a driver they arrange, a taxi, or study personnel.
  • Are willing to be contacted via telephone by study personnel.
  • If of child-bearing age, must have a negative pregnancy and agree to use an effective form of birth control.
  • Must provide a personal contact who is willing to be reached in case of emergency.
  • Agree to let the investigators know within 48 hours of any planned medical interventions.
  • Are proficient in reading and speaking English.
  • Agree to have all psychotherapy sessions recorded.
  • Agree not to participate in any other interventional clinical trials during the course of the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Are pregnant or nursing, or if of child-bearing age and do not use an effective means of birth control.
  • Weigh less than 48 kg.
  • Are abusing illegal drugs.
  • Are unable to give adequate informed consent.
  • Upon review of past and current drugs/medication, must not be on or have taken a medication that is exclusionary.
  • Upon review of medical or psychiatric history, must not have any current or past diagnosis that would be considered a risk to participation in the study.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01793610


Locations
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United States, Colorado
Offices of Marcela d'Otalora
Boulder, Colorado, United States, 80304
Sponsors and Collaborators
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Marcela d'Otalora, MA, LPC Private Practice
  Study Documents (Full-Text)

Documents provided by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies:
Statistical Analysis Plan  [PDF] February 26, 2016
Study Protocol  [PDF] August 15, 2014

Publications:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01793610    
Other Study ID Numbers: MP-12
First Posted: February 15, 2013    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: October 14, 2020
Last Update Posted: November 3, 2020
Last Verified: October 2020
Keywords provided by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies:
MDMA
Posttraumatic stress disorder
sleep
Depression
Safety
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders
N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
Hallucinogens
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Psychotropic Drugs
Serotonin Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Adrenergic Agents