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A Philippine Drug Enforcement agent shows party drug known as "Ecstasy pills" which were seized along with Amphetamine bricks prior to a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. More than 4,000 Ecstasy pills and bricks of Amphetamine which were concealed in toy boxes from The Netherlands and were seized by Customs authorities at the Philippine Post Office, have an estimated value of P7.5 million pesos or $167,000, in the government's unrelenting drug war campaign. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The FDA approved clinical trials for Ecstasy. It might treat PTSD.


MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, is already famous as a party drug.

But now its popularity as a medical treatment has grown to the point that the FDA approved large-scale clinical trials for the drug, The New York Times reports.

Specifically, Ecstasy has been used to treat PTSD. One study found a 56 percent decrease in severity of PTSD symptoms after just three doses.

Our best therapies right now don't help 30 to 40 percent of people. So we need more options.
Dr. Charles Marmar, NYU School of Medicine

This could be great news for doctors. PTSD can be very difficult to treat, Dr. Charles Marmar of the New York University Langone School of Medicine said.

It's been used as a medicine since the 1970s, VICE News reports.

The risk is, of course, Ecstasy can be easily abused. In the United Kingdom, Ecstasy-related deaths hit an all-time high of 50 in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics.

And a 2012 study by David Nutt, a London professor of psychopharmacology, showed positive results, but he urged caution against jumping to conclusions from a study with healthy subjects.

Ecstasy is currently listed as a Schedule I drug (like marijuana) by the Drug Enforcement Agency and is considered to have no known medical use.

We can sometimes see this kind of remarkable improvement in traditional psychotherapy, but it can take years, if it happens at all.
Dr. Michael C. Mithoefer, psychiatrist

The researchers involved have applied for "breakthrough" status, which means the drug could be available by 2021.  

Should Ecstasy be available as a medicine?

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