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20 August 2019 08:47

MDMA Alcoholism MDMA

Treat alcoholism with MDMA, study suggests

Dr Ben Sessa, an addiction psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial College London, who led the trial, said: "With the very best that medical science can work with, 80 per cent of people are drinking within three years post alcohol detox." "We've got one person who has completely relapsed, back to previous drinking levels, we have five people who are completely dry and we have four or five who have had one or two drinks but wouldn't reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder," he told The Guardian. Supplementing psychotherapy with small doses of MDMA could be an effective strategy to prevent relapses of alcohol addiction in patients, an ongoing small clinical trial suggests. In the UK, the first Phase I clinical trial for MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for alcohol use disorder has been going on since 2018, led by researchers from the Imperial College London. Phase I trials are intended as a way to test the safety and optimal dose of a new treatment in a small group of people, rather than to show its effectiveness. According to Ben Sessa, an addiction psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial College London, 11 volunteers have gotten the treatment and gone through the entire trial so far, which also involves nine months of follow-up after treatment.

"We've got one person who has completely relapsed, back to previous drinking levels, we have five people who are completely dry and we have four or five who have had one or two drinks but wouldn't reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder," Sessa told the Guardian. In test cases where alcoholics have been given MDMA alongside psychotherapy, there has been only one relapse and no physical or psychological side effects, scientists say. Dr Ben Sessa, the addiction psychiatrist leading the safety and tolerability at Imperial College London, said 11 people had so far completed the experimental treatment. PA 4/50 16 August 2019 A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years PA 5/50 15 August 2019 A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People's Vote, a campaign group PA 6/50 14 August 2019 Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. AFP/Getty Images 14/50 5 August 2019 Australia's Nathan Lyon celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Joe Root during day five of the first Ashes test at Edgbaston.

AFP/Getty 16/50 3 August 2019 A Cricket fan wears a Donald Trump inflatable, during day three of the first Ashes test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham. The first study looking into the use of MDMA to treat alcohol addiction has shown the treatment is safe and early results show encouraging outcomes from the approach, scientists have said. Doctors in Bristol are testing whether a few doses of the drug, in conjunction with psychotherapy, could help patients overcome alcoholism more effectively than conventional treatments. Dr Ben Sessa, an addiction psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial College London, and who led the trial, said: "With the very best that medical science can work with, 80% of people are drinking within three years post alcohol detox." "We've got one person who has completely relapsed, back to previous drinking levels, we have five people who are completely dry and we have four or five who have had one or two drinks but wouldn't reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder," Sessa said. It's not about MDMA," said Sessa, referring to recreational users of the drug, which is often associated with clubbing.

"If there was a craze of people going around abusing cancer chemotherapy drugs, you wouldn't then think: 'Oh well, it's not safe to take cancer chemotherapy when doctors give it to you,'" said Sessa. David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, who was also involved in the study, said the research had faced financial barriers that meant it took two years to set up because of the "profound" legal constraints of working with a schedule 1 drug. According to researchers from Imperial College London, the party drug MDMA — commonly known as "ecstasy" or "molly" — could be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction, The Guardian reports. They found that of the eleven people that joined the initial stage of the human trial, only one person relapsed, five stopped drinking altogether, and five "had one or two drinks but wouldn't reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder," Ben Sessa, an addiction psychiatrist, senior research fellow at Imperial College London, and lead researcher of the trial, told The Guardian. "MDMA selectively impairs the fear response, MDMA psychotherapy gives you the opportunity to tackle rigidly held personal narratives that are based on early trauma," Sessa said.