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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000113
Original Articles

Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases

Gasser, Peter MD*; Holstein, Dominique PhD; Michel, Yvonne PhD; Doblin, Rick PhD§; Yazar-Klosinski, Berra PhD§; Passie, Torsten MD, MA; Brenneisen, Rudolf PhD

Open Access
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Abstract

Abstract: A double-blind, randomized, active placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted to examine safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy in 12 patients with anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases. Treatment included drug-free psychotherapy sessions supplemented by two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions 2 to 3 weeks apart. The participants received either 200 μg of LSD (n = 8) or 20 μg of LSD with an open-label crossover to 200 μg of LSD after the initial blinded treatment was unmasked (n = 4). At the 2-month follow-up, positive trends were found via the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) in reductions in trait anxiety (p = 0.033) with an effect size of 1.1, and state anxiety was significantly reduced (p = 0.021) with an effect size of 1.2, with no acute or chronic adverse effects persisting beyond 1 day after treatment or treatment-related serious adverse events. STAI reductions were sustained for 12 months. These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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