Advocates have welcomed a surprise decision from Australia’s drug regulator to approve two psychedelic drugs for mental health treatment, but some clinicians are concerned the decision may be premature.
- The TGA will allow psychiatrists to prescribe drugs MDMA and psilocybin under strict conditions from July 1
- An advocate who lost her husband to treatment-resistant depression says the decision “gives his life some meaning”
- A psychology professor says the science suggests the drugs are “worth investigating” but “not ready for prime time”
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Friday announced it had approved the prescribing of MDMA and psilocybin for the treatment mental health conditions.
Authorised psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the drugs as medicine, under strict conditions, from July 1.
MDMA, the active ingredient in party drugs such as ecstasy, will be able to be prescribed to some patients experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Psilocybin, a compound found in psychotropic “magic” mushrooms, will be listed as medicine for for treatment-resistant depression.
All other uses of psilocybin and MDMA will remain prohibited.
The decision comes off the back of years of lobbying from advocacy groups and clinical trials showing promise in the use of the drugs for treatment.
“I’m just very grateful to them … because there was no other solution for me,” said Sydney woman Vanessa.
Vanessa’s husband of 30 years, Franco, struggled with treatment-resistant depression before dying by suicide. About one-in-three people with depression are resistant to approved treatments.