Date of Award

Summer 6-16-2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Medical Science (MMSc)

First Advisor

John Krystal, MD


Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a debilitating psychiatric disorder with no approved treatment options despite the high symptom burden and diminished quality of life. Randomized controlled trials have shown robust attenuation of posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology using treatment with 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) plus psychotherapy, but individuals with complex traumatization have not been studied explicitly. Prior trials primarily utilized an inactive placebo group, undermining the interpretation of the results due to concern for unblinding of subjects. The proposed study is the first to utilize an active comparator to test a key hypothesis related to MDMA’s mechanism of action and to preserve blinding. This proposed randomized, double-blind, controlled trial will explore the efficacy of psychotherapy-supported MDMA in reducing trauma-related symptom severity, depression, and anxiety in the treatment of adults with Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (n = 64) when compared to an active comparator, methylphenidate.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access