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Patients with treatment-resistant depression to take part in psychedelic treatment study this year

Patients with treatment-resistant depression to take part in psychedelic treatment study this year

24th May 2024

A Scottish phase of a worldwide clinical study looking into the safety and effectiveness of an investigational psilocybin treatment for patients suffering treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is expected to start later this summer

Led by Principal Investigator, Dr Donald MacIntyre, the new research – supported by NHS Research Scotland Mental Health Network as part of a study sponsored by Compass Pathways – will be delivered to patients in accordance with the clinical trial protocols in an Edinburgh setting.

It will be the first study of its kind to have ever taken place in Scotland.

Preparations are now in the final stages, and it is hoped that local approvals to comply with Home Office regulations will soon be granted.

Local mental health professionals have also completed their specialist training on delivering psychological support to participants during study visits.

Administered alongside psychological support from specially trained therapists, psilocybin is a psychedelic also found in some mushrooms and is now being studied for its use in depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental illnesses.

Dr MacIntyre said: “It is thought that more than 100 million people worldwide suffer from the devastating effects of TRD. That is a staggering figure, and here in Scotland, it remains a significant issue which we must attempt to address. Following approval to conduct this study from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last year, we are pleased to have the opportunity to research potential new treatments in such a problematic area.”

Dr MacIntyre continued: “After a global mental health crisis exacerbated by COVID-19, the need to address TRD and other forms of depression is increasingly a priority, particularly when existing therapies fail to have a consistently positive impact on those who are worst affected.”

Catherine Deith, Network Manager of NHS Research Scotland Mental Health added: “We are keen to support the delivery of this research, representing the first time a study of this nature has been undertaken in Scotland.

“With a special therapy room set up in Edinburgh, the study drug will be administered to patients recruited locally, including from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“The key aim is to further rigorously evaluate how it could help to tackle TRD and, if demonstrated, potentially move a step closer to making this treatment accessible to patients.”

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