By Maria Da Silva

The world’s first clinical trials exploring the use of MDMA assisted therapy for treating alcohol dependency have begun in the UK.

The study is being led by researchers from Imperial College London. It consists of multiple therapy sessions, with two of the sessions - in week three and week six - being MDMA assisted. The study’s initial sessions have already begun, with the first MDMA doses set to be administered in the coming weeks. The study could provide valuable insights into alternative therapies for mental health conditions.

TalkingDrugs spoke with Dr Ben Sessa, a consultant child psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial, who is working on the trials. He highlighted how the currently available treatment options are simply not working for a lot of people. 

According to the US’ National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 90 per cent of people dependent on alcohol are likely to experience at least one relapse over the four-year period following treatment.

“There’s no other part of medicine that would tolerate that”, Sessa told us. “Imagine those kind of outcomes in surgery or immunology or even oncology. Doctors wouldn’t tolerate that. After a 100 years of modern psychiatry, it’s outrageous! If we can do any better than 90 per cent relapse rates then we’re onto something.”

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