Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Study Design: Systematic review of three published, randomized controlled trials (double-blind, placebo-controlled) between 2008-2013.

Data Sources: All articles used were published in English, in peer-reviewed journals, and found using PubMed/MEDLINE and Cochrane Review databases.

Outcomes Measured: The primary outcome measure in all three studies was the severity of PTSD symptoms. The primary outcome measure was assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and the Severity of Symptoms Scale for PTSD (SSSPTSD).

Results: All trials demonstrated a larger group mean reduction in CAPS/SSSPTSD scores for the MDMA group compared to the placebo group. One study found these results to be statistically significant (P = 0.015) and a considerable clinical response was seen with the MDMA-AP group with a NNT of 2.

Conclusions: Based on the studies, all reported that the use of MDMA-AP reduced group mean scores from baseline to a larger extent than placebo. Although the studies showed a similar outcome, further studies with larger, heterogeneous sample sizes need to be performed to assess the safety and efficacy of MDMA-AP as a treatment for PTSD.

Included in

Psychiatry Commons