Could psychedelic medicines replace antidepressants? Elizabeth Tracey reports

May 10, 2021

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For people with depression, sometimes traditional antidepressant medicines simply don’t work. Now psychedelic medicines may be a new choice, if the results of a study comparing psilocybin to escitalopram, an antidepressant, hold up. Matthew Johnson, a psychedelics researcher at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Johnson: Traditional antidepressants help many people and I don’t think we should think about it as this versus that, ultimately we need more medicines rather than fewer, and we need more treatment options. It depends on the person what the best approach is going to be, but nonetheless I think it is true that when people get better with psilocybin they feel like they have really addressed their psychological issues. This was psilocybin compared to something we know works. The fact that psilocybin consistently trended better than it, that’s extremely promising.  :28

Johnson notes that use of psilocybin for depression is an entirely different approach from antidepressants, and may help those who’ve failed to respond to this class of medicines. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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