Exploring the Therapeutic Potential: A Systematic Review of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress [paper]




Hensley, Melissa

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This systematic review examines the current state of research on the use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as an adjunct to psychotherapy for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study explores the historical context of MDMA, its pharmacological mechanisms, and the rationale for its potential therapeutic effects in addressing PTSD symptoms. A thorough examination of clinical trials, randomized controlled trials, and observational studies reveals promising results in terms of safety and efficacy. The review highlights the neurobiological and psychological mechanisms through which MDMA may facilitate the therapeutic process, including enhanced emotional regulation, increased empathy, and improved introspection. Key findings from recent clinical trials, such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)-sponsored Phase 3 trials, are presented and discussed. Safety considerations, including potential adverse effects and risk mitigation strategies, are addressed to provide a balanced perspective. The review also discusses the legal and ethical implications surrounding the use of MDMA in therapeutic settings. Additionally, the potential impact of this emerging treatment modality on existing PTSD treatment paradigms and healthcare practices is explored. Overall, this review supports the growing body of evidence suggesting that MDMA-assisted therapy holds promise as a novel and effective approach for individuals suffering from PTSD. While further research is needed to establish long-term safety and efficacy, the findings underscore the potential of MDMA-assisted therapy to contribute to the evolving landscape of mental health treatments for PTSD.


An EBP Capstone Project submitted to the St. David’s School of Nursing at Texas State University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing.


MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, psychopharmacology


Hensley, M. (2023). Exploring the therapeutic potential: A systematic review of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the management of post-traumatic stress [paper]. St. David's School of Nursing, Texas State University.


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