June 1, 2023

14th April 2021: The New England Journal of Medicine publish Psilocybin vs Escitalopram for Depression Trial:

Well i’m joined now by dr robin carhart harris who led this work he heads up the center for psychedelic science at imperial college london thank you for joining us this sounds exciting i know it’s a small study but what is there in it to make you feel optimistic well the psalocybin therapy appeared to work more rapidly than the conventional antidepressant and

At the end of the six-week trial we actually saw that solar submarine therapy had a broader range of improvements associated with it than the conventional antidepressant and how did it work what was it doing for uh the patients the participants in your trial so the solar system therapy appears to catalyze a kind of relearning process people are able to step

Outside of their depression and view things with a a kind of freshness and an objectivity um and the effects of the conventional antidepressants are more about a kind of leveling out a sort of emotional blunting so this is sounds like more of a sense of people being able to be released from perhaps their patterns of thought that’s right in depression people often

Fall into these negative ways of looking at themselves and looking at the world and and so with the psychedelic there’s a kind of recalibration or a reset of people’s perspective on things i know it’s early days but do can you see a point at which psilocybin could be prescribed whether in the uk or elsewhere yes i can there’s more research that needs to be done

It might take us three four five years before we have the multi-site licensing trials completed that regulators need to see but i’m quite optimistic that we’ll make it and when you talk about those trials are you talking just about the uk or are you talking about international trials they’re international they’re happening across north america and also across

Europe so where in particular are you are you getting interest from when you say across europe where in europe uh there’s a few sites in the uk there are sites in uh gosh a number of countries scandinavian countries i think there’s probably about five or six european countries that are part of these multi-site trials and as you looked at at your starter trial

Were there side effects was there was there anything that you need to caution about at this stage yes there were side effects with every medical intervention the side effect profile in terms of number of side effects was quite equal across the two groups but the nature of the side effects were different so in the conventional antidepressant group we saw things

Like sexual dysfunction emotional blunting some anxiety dry mouth drowsiness with the psalocybin it the most prevalent side effect was a headache the next day but from your point of view this i think is one of the first uh trials to look at more than mild depression do you really feel a sense of of an opening here for those who are more severely depressed i do

Our previous research has looked at what we call treatment resistant depression so people who failed treatment with antidepressant medication also psychotherapy in this trial 90 percent of the sample had tried psychotherapy so there is promise there i think these results should give people a renewed hope that we can add to the toolkit for clinicians treating depression in the future

Transcribed from video
Psilocybin vs Escitalopram for Depression Trial By Robin Carhart-Harris