‘Intriguing and sobering’: Enthusiasm over psilocybin’s effect on depression tempered by questions about durability

The hype around psychedelic therapy has been put to the test, with the publication Wednesday of the largest-ever study of psilocybin to treat depression. The Phase 2 trial found that the drug was effective — it reduced or eliminated symptoms in the short term in more than one-third of patients who took the highest dose — but not as dazzlingly powerful as earlier smaller studies had suggested.

The patients in the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, all had treatment-resistant depression, meaning they had tried at least two approved depression therapies that afforded them no relief. So any response in a significant number of patients is promising, though the effects were not as long-lasting as seen in earlier and smaller studies.

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