Physicians in Australia Can Now Prescribe Psychedelics for PTSD and Depression

Doctors in Australia can now prescribe psychedelics including MDMA and psilocybin as a treatment for PTSD and depression. The changes took effect on July 1.

Full story after the jump.

Physicians in Australia can now prescribe doses of MDMA and psilocybin to patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and hard-to-treat depression, the Associated Press reports. The reforms make Australia the first nation in the world to allow doctors to prescribe psychedelics as medicine. 

The move was announced in February but took effect July 1. 

Both MDMA and psilocybin have been added to the list of approved medicines by the Therapeutic Goods Administration but will be expensive – about AU$10,000 (US$6,600) per patient for treatment, the report says.  

Dr. Paul Liknaitzky, head of Monash University’s Clinical Psychedelic Lab, told the AP that the reforms have led to “excitement about drug policy progress” and “… about the prospect of being able to offer patients more suitable and tailored treatment without the constraints imposed by clinical trials and rigid protocols.” He did note there are some concerns with the reforms. 

“There are concerns that evidence remains inadequate and moving to clinical service is premature; that incompetent or poorly equipped clinicians could flood the space; that treatment will be unaffordable for most; that formal oversight of training, treatment, and patient outcomes will be minimal or ill-informed.” — Litnaitzky to the AP 

Chris Langmead, deputy director of the Neuromedicines Discovery Centre at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, told the AP that there have been few advancements in the treatment of persistent mental health issues over the last 50 years. 

Before prescribing psychedelics, psychiatrists need approval from both a human ethics committee and under the Authorised Prescriber Scheme. 

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