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Growing PTSD Incidence to Increase MDMA Studies

With hundreds of thousands of returning soldiers, rates of the serious mental health condition PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have grown exponentially. Few successful treatment options are available, but according to an AlterNet February 11, 2008 article, ("Group of Traumatized Veterans Get Experimental Ecstasy Treatment") promising research trials are well underway.

The AlterNet article states, "Enter the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies ( MAPS ), and its currently funded trials using 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine -- otherwise known as MDMA, or ecstasy -- to treat post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ).The organization is supporting and funding Dr. Michael Mithoefer's double-blind sessions and protocol on MDMA/PTSD, initially approved by the FDA in 2001 and due to conclude this June, as well as co-sponsoring a pilot MDMA/PTSD study with the Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy and coordinating research at Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital into MDMA's ability to aid the suffering of terminal cancer patients."

AlterNet notes, "Mithoefer's current study, in phase two and working with barely over 20 patients, is crucial, according to Doblin, 'to prove safety and efficacy.' Safety and efficacy are the prime obstacles standing in MAPS and MDMA's way, especially since the drug was given the Schedule I assignation in 1985, shortly after it was nicknamed 'ecstasy' in 1984. Since then, studies have come and gone in hopes of proving its lethality, but, as with its cousin-in-controversy cannabis, nothing conclusive came of it. Doblin, Mithoefer and other interested physicians and figures from around the world have stepped forward to subject it to rigorous testing, and have found little to complain about. 'Michael's study is the furthest along,' added Doblin, 'and after June, we'll do the data analysis and submit our findings to the FDA. After that, we will work with the FDA to come up with ideas about phase three studies, and that's when we have to spend the millions of dollars and treat hundreds of patients."

According to the article,"For now, Doblin and his cadre of outside-the-box doctors are focusing on the data, which is growing by the day, and pointing to a possible light at the end of PTSD's long, dark tunnel. And that means navigating the labyrinth of not just the FDA, but also the medical establishment's program of rigorous testing and analysis."

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