Magic mushroom compound tested for treatment-resistant depression

One of Imperial CRF’s studies called Psilodep Pilot with Professor David J Nutt as the Principal Investigator has recently published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal 2016. The study titled “Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study” recruited 12 volunteers (six men and six women) with treatment-resistant depression. The volunteers were given two doses of psilocybin, the first dose being 10mg and the second dose of 25mg were given, followed by two fMRI scans and a final follow up visit. There was no control group used for this trial.

Depression is a major public health problem; it is a leading contributor to the global burden of disease, affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Antidepressant medications and cognitive behavioural therapy can be effective for some patients, but around 20% do not respond to any intervention, and many of those who do respond, eventually relapse.

Psilocybin is a controlled drug and constituent of magic mushrooms. Previous studies have suggested that it may have a role in depression management.

The aim of the study was to investigate the safety and feasibility of psilocybin in patients with treatment-resistant depression, and to establish an initial impression of its efficacy.

The results of the trial showed that psilocybin was well tolerated by all of the patients, and no serious or unexpected adverse events occurred. The trial has been extended for an additional 8 participants to be enrolled. The outcome and fMRI data for all 20 participants will be reported separately.

All of the volunteers were had a telephone screening before being allowed to attend a screening visit.

This study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

You can read the story on the Imperial College London news page here and the BBC news page here.

References

Carhart-Harris, R., L., Bolstridge, M., Rucker, J., Day, C., M., J., Erritzoe, D., Kaelen, M., Bloomfield, M., Rickard, J., A., Forbes, B., Feilding, A., Taylor, D., Pilling, S., Curran, V., H. and Nutt, D., J. (2016). Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study. [online] The Lancet Psychiatry. Available at: < http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpsy/PIIS2215-0366(16)30065-7.pdf> [Accessed 01 June 2016].

Magic mushroom compound tested for treatment-resistant depression