Last year the Imperial College of London conducted a clinical trial for the treatment of alcoholism through use of MDMA-assisted therapy. This results are a smashing success.

We follow up with the TrialSite News Q&A breakdown of the Imperial College of London study.

What was Imperial College of London Studying?

The Imperial College of London conducted a clinical trial for the treatment of alcoholism through the use of MDMA-assisted therapy.

Study Description

It was a small study conducted with four participants suffering from alcoholism over an eight-week period. Each participated in a weekly hour-long therapy session as well as two psychotherapy sessions where they were given a 125mg dose of 99.9% pure MDMA, with an optional extra 62.5 mg after two hours.

What is MDMA?

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) also known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug primarily used as a recreational drug. The desired effects include altered sensations and increased energy, empathy and pleasure. Side effects include addiction, memory problems, paranoia, sleep problems, teeth grinding and many others. Some deaths have been reported due to increased body temperature and dehydration.

MDMA Status & Clinical Research

MDMA is illegal in most countries and doesn’t have approved medical uses. There are limited exceptions for research. Researchers are investigating whether MDMA may assist in treating severe, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD)—for example the MAPS Program has Phase 3 studies assessing the effectiveness and safety for PTSD.

Additionally, the FDA has granted MDMA a breakthrough therapy designation for PTSD. If the studies show promise, the agency can apply expedited review methods.

MDMA History

It was first developed by Merck in 1912. In the 1970s, it was used to improve psychotherapy and became popular as a drug for young people in clubs and raves in the 1980s and beyond.

Imperial College of London Study Results

The results of the world’s first ever clinical study of MDMA to treat substance use disorder found that all four study participant had stopped their “harmful daily drinking” completely. Although, two of the four admitted they had slipped and had a single drink during the eight-week-long process, reported MixMag’s Cameron Holbrook. The MixMag article reported that the other two participants remained completely sober.


Although this is a small study, it clearly shows promise. Alcoholism crushes people. Causing significant damage to the body, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 208 million people struggling with alcoholism worldwide. (4.1% of the population over 15 years of age). In the U.S. alone, about 17 million struggle with the condition. It represents a pervasive problem in need of a solution. If a MDMA-based therapy can be developed that is safe, effective and is not addictive then it would represent a big hit. The company that would develop and commercialize this potential therapy could have a gold mine.

The Imperial College of London team plans on expanding their MDMA clinical research program.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Ben Sessa 

Source: mixmag

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