Tag Archives: psilocybin

Quick Hits: Statins and Seniors, ‘Magic Mushrooms’ As Depression Treatment & More

Almost half of patients 65 and over that are prescribed statins stop taking them within a year — and side effects may be to blame. Researchers looked at 22,340 seniors who started statin therapy and found that 45% stopped taking the medication within a year of receiving the prescription. Results also showed that patients 85 and older were even more likely to stop taking the pills. Some people on statins do experience muscle aches and pains and some studies have indicated that statins are associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes. The researchers noted that having diabetes and anxiety was associated with a higher rate of discontinuation. Posted November 6, 2018. Via British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The FDA has granted “Breakthrough Therapy” status to a drug company’s treatment-resistant depression medication that contains psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. The designation means that the agency will fast-track review of the drug. However, it may be some time before the FDA approves the drug as the company, COMPASS Pathways, has just started to conduct a large-scale clinical trial. In a news release, the company said a 2015 study in which psilocybin was given to 19 patients in a clinical setting “found promising signals on efficacy and safety.” Treatment-resistant depression affects 100 million people worldwide. Posted October 23, 2018. Via COMPASS Pathways.

Some lots of the hypertension drug irbesartan are being recalled because they may contain an impurity that can cause cancer. The irbesartan affected was manufactured by ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and may contain N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen. You can check to see if the irbesartan you are taking is impacted by the recall here. If your medication is on the recall list, do not stop taking it. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about an alternative treatment. Irbesartan is the second high blood pressure medication recalled because of NDMA this year. Over the summer, the FDA recalled certain lots of valsartan. Posted October 30, 2018. Via FDA.

Can a Magic Mushrooms Compound Treat Depression?

One of the psychedelic compounds found in so-called “magic mushrooms” may help ease depression in people who have failed on other treatments.

A new study, published in Lancet Psychiatry, found that people with depression who were given psilocybin, which occurs naturally in certain kinds of mushrooms, twice 7 days apart, saw their depressive symptoms subside as early as a week and as long as 3 months after the first dose was administered. In addition, improvements in anxiety and anhedonia, the inability to experience usually pleasurable activities, were seen.

Although psychedelic effects were seen after taking psilocybin, they typically wore off after 6 hours. All patients also had some temporary anxiety as the drug began to take effect, but that quickly subsided. Others complained of confusion, headaches and nausea, and that also tended to dissipate in a matter of hours.

While it’s not exactly clear how psilocybin may help to alleviate depressive symptoms, the compound is known to stimulate serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness.

The authors noted that prior studies have provided preliminary evidence that psilocybin may also be effective for end-of-life anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and smoking and alcohol dependence.

However, before you go and eat some “magic mushrooms” to ease depression, it’s important to note that the study included just 12 people, and there was no control group as a basis for comparison. In addition, the trial participants offered to take part in the study, so the improvements felt may have been psychosomatic in nature as they would more likely to want the treatment to work.

Also, they all knew they would be getting the drug (open label), as opposed to double-blind trials, where patients are unaware if they are getting a drug or a placebo.

“This study provides preliminary support for the safety and efficacy of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and motivates further trials, with more rigorous designs, to better examine the therapeutic potential of this approach,” the researchers conclude.

Other drugs with known psychedelic effects, such as ketamine, are also under investigation as potential depression treatments.