Psychiatric study for cancer patients to measure psychoactive medication


Stage IV cancer patients who suffer from anxiety may want to investigate a new research study recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) taking place at The Research and Education Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA.

The specific aim of the study is to learn whether the psychoactive drug, psilocybin, might be effective in reducing anxiety, depression and physical pain, and therefore improving quality of life for Stage IV cancer patients. Psilocybin is a novel agent that produces a profound alteration in your state of consciousness. It is the main active ingredient found in "magic mushrooms".

For each participant there will be two overnight admissions to the hospital. In one session you will be given a placebo and in the other you will get the active medication.

Patients are not eligible for the study if they have:

  • central nervous system (CNS) cancers
  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • abnormal liver function tests
  • epilepsy
  • cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure (BP greater than 140/90)
  • a history of a personal or familial psychiatric disorder
  • a current substance abuse problem
  • anxiety or a mood disorder within 1 year prior to the onset of symptoms of your current illness, and
  • are pregnant.

We also cannot take patients in the study if they are taking certain medications, such as anti-seizure, insulin and oral hypoglycemics, blood pressure, cardiovascular drugs and some antidepressant medications.

You will get a MRI of the brain prior to admission (if you haven't had one in the prior two months) at the study's expense. You can provide us, or the study will pay for, lab work from the prior two weeks (CBC, liver function and renal function). Staff doctors will perform physicals, neurological exam, EKG, and a urine pregnancy test (if you are a woman with child-bearing potential).

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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