OPEN Foundation

D. D’Souza

Exploratory Controlled Study of the Migraine-Suppressing Effects of Psilocybin

Abstract

While anecdotal evidence suggests that select 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A (5-HT2A) receptor ligands, including psilocybin, may have long-lasting therapeutic effects after limited dosing in headache disorders, controlled investigations are lacking. In an exploratory double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, adults with migraine received oral placebo and psilocybin (0.143 mg/kg) in 2 test sessions spaced 2 weeks apart. Subjects maintained headache diaries starting 2 weeks before the first session until 2 weeks after the second session. Physiological and psychological drug effects were monitored during sessions and several follow-up contacts with subjects were carried out to assure safety of study procedures. Ten subjects were included in the final analysis. Over the 2-week period measured after single administration, the reduction in weekly migraine days from baseline was significantly greater after psilocybin (mean, – 1.65 (95% CI: – 2.53 to – 0.77) days/week) than after placebo (- 0.15 (- 1.13 to 0.83) days/week; p = 0.003, t(9) = 4.11). Changes in migraine frequency in the 2 weeks after psilocybin were not correlated with the intensity of acute psychotropic effects during drug administration. Psilocybin was well-tolerated; there were no unexpected or serious adverse events or withdrawals due to adverse events. This exploratory study suggests there is an enduring therapeutic effect in migraine headache after a single administration of psilocybin. The separation of acute psychotropic effects and lasting therapeutic effects is an important finding, urging further investigation into the mechanism underlying the clinical effects of select 5-HT2A receptor compounds in migraine, as well as other neuropsychiatric conditions. Clinicaltrials.gov : NCT03341689.

Schindler, E., Sewell, R. A., Gottschalk, C. H., Luddy, C., Flynn, L. T., Lindsey, H., Pittman, B. P., Cozzi, N. V., & D’Souza, D. C. (2021). Exploratory Controlled Study of the Migraine-Suppressing Effects of Psilocybin. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 18(1), 534–543. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-020-00962-y

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Neuroendocrine Associations Underlying the Persistent Therapeutic Effects of Classic Serotonergic Psychedelics

Abstract

Recent reports on the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapies for mood disorders and addiction, as well as the effects of psychedelics in the treatment of cluster headache, have demonstrated promising therapeutic results. In addition, the beneficial effects appear to persist well after limited exposure to the drugs, making them particularly appealing as treatments for chronic neuropsychiatric and headache disorders. Understanding the basis of the long-lasting effects, however, will be critical for the continued use and development of this drug class. Several mechanisms, including biological and psychological ones, have been suggested to explain the long-lasting effects of psychedelics. Actions on the neuroendocrine system are some such mechanisms that warrant further investigation in the study of persisting psychedelic effects. In this report, we review certain structural and functional neuroendocrinological pathologies associated with neuropsychiatric disorders and cluster headache. We then review the effects that psychedelic drugs have on those systems and provide preliminary support for potential long-term effects. The circadian biology of cluster headache is of particular relevance in this area. We also discuss methodologic considerations for future investigations of neuroendocrine system involvement in the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs.
Schindler, E. A. D., Wallace, R. M., Sloshower, J. A., & D’Souza, D. C. (2018). Neuroendocrine associations underlying the persistent therapeutic effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics. Frontiers in pharmacology9, 177. 10.3389/fphar.2018.00177
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27 June - Spiritual & Existential Dimensions in Psychedelic Care: Challenges & Insights

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