The psychedelic drug MDMA can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers report in a new study published Thursday.

The company sponsoring the study said it plans to seek U.S. approval later this year to market the drug, also known as ecstasy, as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment in combination with talk therapy.

“This is the first innovation in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment in more than two decades. It’s important because I think it will open up other innovations as well.” MAPS public benefit corporationstudy sponsor.

Earlier this year, Australia becomes the first country Psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms).More and more drugs wider cultural acceptance In the United States, this is partly due to the efforts of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

In the new study, researchers measured symptoms in 104 PTSD patients who were randomly assigned to take MDMA or a dummy drug in three sessions, one month apart. Both groups received talk therapy.

Common side effects in the MDMA group were muscle tension, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. But only one person in the MDMA group dropped out of the study.

After treatment, 86% of patients in the MDMA group improved on standard PTSD assessments, compared with 69% of patients in the placebo group. The assessment measures symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks and insomnia.

By the end of the study, 72% of the people in the MDMA group no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, compared with about 48% of the placebo group.

“The results they got are very exciting,” said Barbara Rothbaum, director of veterans programs at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. She was not involved in the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine.

PTSD can also be treated with other medications or talk therapy.

“They’re very effective, but nothing is 100 percent effective,” Rothbaum said. “So we definitely need more treatment options.”

Before MDMA can be prescribed in the United States, approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is required, and the Drug Enforcement Administration needs to change its classification. MDMA is currently listed as Schedule 1, the same as heroin, and is considered to have “no currently recognized medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science & Education Media Group.The Associated Press is solely responsible for all content

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