Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression shows promise


Results from a clinical trial on psilocybin, a psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, suggested that it may benefit those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

The study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by researchers from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. The second trial of the three-phase study, this investigation aimed to test the safety and effectiveness of a single dose of COMP360 psilocybin for depression.

Included in the trial were 233 people with TRD from 10 countries. Participants were split into three groups, each given different amounts of COMP360 psilocybin. The first group was given 25 milligrams per day while the second group got 10 mg per day, and the third got 1mg per day. Effects of the drug were observed at three weeks, and then again at 12 weeks. Participants had psychological support throughout the trial.

Researchers found that 25 mg of COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support was associated with a statistically and clinically significant reduction in symptoms of depression in those with TRD after three weeks. The resulted suggested that 37 percent of people with TRD in the 25 mg group had a 50 percent decrease in depressive symptoms at week three and 30 percent reached remission. At week 12, 20 percent of the participants demonstrated a sustained response to the therapy. Overall, the study found COMP360 psilocybin to be well tolerated.

The study’s authors concluded that their results indicate that COMP360 psilocybin may be an effective therapy to fight TRD. Part three of the study is scheduled to begin before the end of 2022.

"This is the largest and most rigorous clinical trial of psilocybin to date,” John Kelly, MD MRCPsych, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin. “It shows a promising antidepressant signal for 25mg COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support and has paved the way for phase three clinical trials, which will determine whether it translates into a much-needed complementary treatment strategy in the psychiatry clinic.”