Most of us think of ecstasy (or MDMA) as an illegal dancefloor hallucinogen with side-effects including unusual facial expressions.
But the drug could soon be used as a treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after Israel approved it to treat 50 patients.
Israel’s Ministry of Health has approved the use of MDMA to treat PTSD in 50 patients in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center plus psychiatric hospitals in Be’er Yaakov, Lev Hasharon, and Be’er Sheva.
Speaking to Israeli news outlet Haaretz, Ministry of Health official Bella Ben-Gershon said,
As Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of addiction services at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said in a news release, "It represents an evolution of the opioid crises in which patterns have shifted to a much more potent drug, putting users at a greater risk of overdose and death." 11 Are Doctors Prescribing Fentanyl for Everyday Pain?
‘The ministry is taking this seriously and with appropriate caution, an in-depth investigation has been carried out.
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‘There is a considerable population in Israel of people suffering from PTSD that is resistant to other treatment.’
In 2017, America’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) awarded the drug ‘breakthrough status’ – which means it should be fast-tracked as a potential treatment.
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Studies have shown that patients with PTSD – where it’s difficult to deal with painful memories – can overcome their traumas, long-term, with the aid of MDMA.
Last year, one psychotherapist who hopes to use the drug to treat patients says that America is ‘on track’ to allow the use of the drug by 2021.
Several studies have shown that MDMA can have positive effects in patients suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.