Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not MDMAassisted psychotherapy (MAP) results in symptom improvement in adults with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Study Design: Systematic review of three randomized control trials (RCTs) published between 2017 and 2018.

Data Sources: All three RCTs were written in English and published in peer-reviewed journals found via PubMed. Each analyzed the effect of MAP on PTSD symptom severity.

Outcomes Measured: The primary outcome in all three studies was PTSD symptom changes. The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-IV) and NEO PI-R Personality Inventory (NEO) were used to assess symptoms before and after intervention.

Results: All three studies showed improvement in PTSD symptoms after MAP, but only one of these studies had results reaching statistical significance without eliminating outlier data. Specifically, Mithoefer et al. found a CAPS-IV mean difference of -11.4 for the 30 mg group and -44.3 for the 125 mg group, with a statistically significant p-value of 0.004 (Lancet Psychiatry. 2018;5(6):486-497. doi: S2215-0366(18)30135-4 [pii]).

Conclusions: There is not enough statistically significant data to conclude that MAP improves PTSD symptoms. Future studies with larger, more diverse populations must be conducted to strengthen the statistical significance and generalizability of Mithoefer et al.’s findings. Moreover, drug accessibility and treatment monitoring must be considered as limiting factors to implementing MAP.