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Psilocybin Promising for Treating Major Depressive Disorder

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4, 2020 -- Psilocybin in the context of supportive psychotherapy may be effective for treating major depressive disorder (MDD), according to a study published online Nov. 4 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Alan K. Davis, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the effect of psilocybin therapy in patients with MDD. Adults aged 21 to 75 years with an MDD diagnosis were eligible to participate: 27 participants were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment condition group, which received two psilocybin sessions, or delayed treatment condition group (eight-week delay; 15 and 12 participants, respectively).

The researchers found that the mean GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores at weeks 1 and 4 in the immediate treatment group were statistically significantly lower than the sores at the comparable time points of weeks 5 and 8 in the delayed treatment group (8.0 and 8.5, respectively, versus 23.8 and 23.5, respectively). At weeks 5 and 8, the effect sizes were large. From baseline to day 1 after session 1, the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Rated documented a rapid decrease in mean depression score (16.7 versus 6.3), which remained statistically significantly reduced through week 4 of follow-up (6.0).

"These data expand the findings of previous studies involving patients with cancer and depression as well as patients with treatment-resistant depression by suggesting that psilocybin may be effective in the much larger population of MDD," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: November 2020

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