Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jeanie McHugo


3,4,- methylenedioxymethamphetamine; MDMA; Post-traumatic stress disorder; PTSD


Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health disorder that affects many Americans and leads to considerable morbidity and mortality. While there are a range of therapies to treat PTSD, treatment resistance is high, leading to a chronic condition in many patients. In recent years, attention has been turned to the use of novel drugs, such as 3,4,- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as a treatment for PTSD.

Aim: The purpose of this literature review was to assess the safety and efficacy of MDMA use in the treatment of PTSD.

Results: MDMA is a schedule I drug, therefore research into its use is limited. This literature review reports on the results of six phase 2 trials (n=103) and the only phase 3 randomized control trial (n=92). Results of the phase 2 trials found that 52.7% of the experimental group no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 22.6% of those in the control group. Results of the phase 3 trial found that MDMA produced statistically significant reductions in CAPS scores of patients (p<0.0001, d=0.91) as well a decrease in SDS scores (p=0.0016, d=0.43).

Conclusion: MDMA seems to be a safe, effective, and long-lasting treatment option for patients with treatment resistant PTSD. However, additional studies involving larger sample sizes and longer follow-up are warranted.