In what is said to be the first British trial of its kind, doctors are to use ecstasy to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to them, it could help those who have experienced extremely distressing events -- be they in battle, or as a result of child abuse or rape -- to come to terms with their past.
Prof David Nutt, a controversial psychopharmacologist, and Dr Ben Sessa, a psychiatrist, plan to perform their trial which will also include scanning participants' brains to see what differences there are between those taking the drug and those not on it, 'The Guardian' reported. "I feel quite strongly that many drugs with therapeutic potential have been denied to patients and researchers because of the drug's regulation," Prof Nutt said. He also pointed out that heroin, while illegal, had been around long enough for medics to realise its enormous therapeutic value as a painkiller. However, he said that it remained the exception that proved the rule.
The doctors are awaiting a funding request for the trial. Earlier, a smallscale American trial found that 10 out 12 volunteers given the drug to help facilitate two psychotherapy sessions reported significantly improved mental health nearly two months later. Of the other, eight who were given a placebo, but otherwise experienced the same therapy sessions, only two reported significant improvements. The 12 were given MDMA --the acronym for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- the active ingredient in ecstasy.