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Expending Perspectives on the Potential for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies to Improve the Experience of Aging

Published:October 02, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2022.09.017
      There has been a resurgence of research into the therapeutic effects of psychedelic-assisted therapies (PAT) within the last two decades, with groundbreaking results for some of the most treatment-resistant psychiatric conditions, including depression, Psot-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance-use disorder, and end-of-life anxiety. Johnston et al. review these data regarding the unmet clinical needs in older adults and emphasize PAT's potential applications in this population.
      • Johnston CB
      • Mangini M
      • Grob C
      • et al.
      The safety and efficacy of psychedelic-assisted therapies for older adults: knowns and unknowns the American.
      However, citing the lack of safety and efficacy data and the potentially heightened risks in patients over the age of 60, the authors rightly highlight that generalization of these findings to the geriatric population would be premature and that further research is warranted to define potential indications and safety guidelines. Even though there have been no long-term medical complications or serious adverse events reported in recent PAT studies, acute effects that may be of concern in older adults are related to the effects of psychedelics on the cardiovascular system, including hypertension, tachycardia and QTc prolongation. However, more research is needed to evaluate the true significance of this risk in older adults. Of the agents mentioned in this article and for the purposes discussed, psilocybin may pose a lower risk and be better suited than 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) given psilocybin's lack of sympathomimetic effects and its increased degree of spirituality and mysticism relative to methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
      • Roseman L
      • Leech R
      • Feilding A
      • et al.
      The effects of psilocybin and MDMA on between-network resting state functional connectivity in healthy volunteers.
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      Linked Article

      • The Safety and Efficacy of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies for Older Adults: Knowns and Unknowns
        The American Journal of Geriatric PsychiatryVol. 31Issue 1
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          The past decade has seen a groundswell of interest in the use of psychedelic medicines for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the distress associated with a serious medical illness.1 The enthusiasm for these compounds is understandable, given the dramatic accounts of improvement reported in both peer-reviewed journals and the popular press.2 A number of localities have decriminalized psilocybin-containing mushrooms and other psychedelics, and Oregon's measure 109 has established a path for legal “psilocybin services” to be offered in the state starting in 2023.
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