“A single dose of psilocybin generated a rapid response that lasted up to 12 weeks,” explained primary trial investigator Dr. David J. Hellerstein.
Compass Pathways eagerly awaited trial results are out, and the findings are impressive. With their COMP360 psilocybin therapy drug, Compass Pathways’ trial has shown that psilocybin-based therapy rapidly reduced the severity of depressive symptoms for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
As the largest psilocybin therapy trial the world has seen, Compass Pathways pulled together 233 patients from 10 countries in North America and Europe. All participants ceased using their antidepressants before the study began, and 94% of them had no prior experience with psilocybin, a psychedelic compound produced by the psilocybe family of mushrooms.
The trial compared two doses of the COMP360 psilocybin derivative, a 25mg dose and 10mg dose, with a 1mg dose used as a control. The dose administration was paired with psychological support from trained therapists on hand throughout the study.
Participants who received the 25mg dose of COMP360 showed a -6.6 difference on the Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at the third week compared to the participants who received just 1mg of the compound.
A single dose of psilocybin generated a rapid response that lasted up to 12 weeks, Hellerstein reported. Remission rates appear to be higher than seen in traditional medication studies. These findings suggest that COMP360 psilocybin therapy could play a major role in psychiatric care.
While the study was successful, some patients did experience minor symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and insomnia. These side effects aligned with those commonly reported by other psilocybin users and passed relatively quickly. Twelve patients also reported more severe side effects, including suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation. These events were nearly all associated with the 25mg dose.
Despite some side effects, the study results were overall positive and represent a new potential treatment avenue for depression. The study results are especially notable for the 100 million people suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Treatment-resistant depression is a condition where patients fail to respond to two or more anti-depression treatments.
Psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds such as Ketamine, in use by organizations such as Revitalist and Field Trip Health, represent exciting and novel new treatment options. Compass Pathways expects to enter Phase 3 research for the COMP360 psilocybin derivative in 2022.
David Connell is a U.S. Air Force Veteran writer and author of Cooking with Magic: The Psilocybin Cookbook. David holds a B.A. in Communications and Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Connect with him about drug policy reform, his thoughts on research in novel psychedelic therapies, creative writing, and his unabashed love for Science Fiction on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Compass Pathways plc announces financial results and business highlights for the second quarter 2021. COMPASS Pathways plc. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2021 fromhttps://ir.compasspathways.com/news-releases/news-release-details/compass-pathways-plc-announces-financial-results-and-business-1.
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