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Effects of Psilocybin in Advanced-Stage Cancer Patients With Anxiety

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00302744
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : March 14, 2006
Last Update Posted : April 22, 2022
Heffter Research Institute
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Tracking Information
First Submitted Date  ICMJE March 10, 2006
First Posted Date  ICMJE March 14, 2006
Last Update Posted Date April 22, 2022
Study Start Date  ICMJE April 2004
Actual Primary Completion Date December 2008   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Current Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: April 14, 2022)
Anxiety [ Time Frame: 6 months ]
State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults - Form Y-2
Original Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Not Provided
Change History
Current Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Not Provided
Original Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Not Provided
Current Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Descriptive Information
Brief Title  ICMJE Effects of Psilocybin in Advanced-Stage Cancer Patients With Anxiety
Official Title  ICMJE Effects of Psilocybin in Advanced-Stage Cancer Patients With Anxiety
Brief Summary

Psychiatric Research Study For Cancer Patients

The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is conducting a study designed to measure the effectiveness of the novel psychoactive medication psilocybin on the reduction of anxiety, depression, and physical pain.

Detailed Description

The significance of this study is that it is addressing the important issues of psychological and spiritual well being of people who have advanced cancer. In 2001, the National Cancer Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council issued a report (Improving Palliative Care for Cancer: Summary and Recommendations) that specifically recommended research be conducted using novel agents and methods. Psilocybin is a novel agent which produces a profound alteration in your state of consciousness. It is the main active ingredient found in "magic mushrooms".

Our specific aim is to learn whether this psychoactive drug, psilocybin, might be effective in reducing anxiety, depression and physical pain, and therefore improving your quality of life. This pilot study will start with 12 people ages 18-70. 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, but no one will know which drug is administered when. This is called a double blind study. You will be asked to fill out questionnaires about how you feel, your pain levels and your moods. There will also be at least two psychotherapy meetings before the study sessions, so that you are fully aware of what to expect and to have all your questions answered.

We cannot take you in the study if you have central nervous system (CNS) cancers, kidney disease, diabetes, abnormal liver function tests, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease including untreated high blood pressure (BP greater than 140/90), and pregnancy. The psychiatric exclusions are: you or an immediate family member with a history of a major psychiatric disorder, a current substance abuse problem, or an anxiety or a mood disorder within 1 year prior to the onset of symptoms of your current illness.

We also cannot take you in the study if you are taking certain medications, such as: anti-seizure, insulin and oral hypoglycemics, and cardiovascular drugs (except anti-hypertensive medications). Some antidepressant (SSRIs) medications cannot be taken within the two weeks prior to the session (except for Prozac, which cannot be taken in the last 5 weeks prior to the session).

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, to be sure there is no CNS involvement. You can provide us, or the study will pay for, lab work from the prior 2 weeks (CBC, liver function and renal function). The history and physical, neurological exam, EKG, and a urine pregnancy test (if you are a woman with child-bearing potential), will be done on admission by the house staff doctors.

You will be allowed to take your own medications while in the hospital, and will be encouraged to bring to the hospital personal photos, small memorabilia, and some of your favorite music that can be played during the sessions.

Study Type  ICMJE Interventional
Study Phase  ICMJE Phase 1
Phase 2
Study Design  ICMJE Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Intervention Model Description:
Within-subject cross-over study. Each participant received active drug and active placebo on separate dates.
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Condition  ICMJE Anxiety
Intervention  ICMJE
  • Drug: Psilocybin (drug)
    One placebo session (niacin) and one active drug session (.2 mg/kg). Treatment sessions are six hours.
    Other Name: psilocybin
  • Other: Active Niacin Placebo
Study Arms  ICMJE
  • Experimental: Psilocybin
    Single, 6-hour treatment with 0.2 mg/kg active psilocybin capsule.
    Intervention: Drug: Psilocybin (drug)
  • Active Comparator: Active Niacin Placebo
    Each subject functioned as their own control, receiving niacin placebo capsule in a single 6-hour session.
    Intervention: Other: Active Niacin Placebo
Publications * Grob CS, Danforth AL, Chopra GS, Hagerty M, McKay CR, Halberstadt AL, Greer GR. Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;68(1):71-8. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.116. Epub 2010 Sep 6.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Recruitment Information
Recruitment Status  ICMJE Completed
Actual Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: January 28, 2013)
Original Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: March 13, 2006)
Actual Study Completion Date  ICMJE December 2008
Actual Primary Completion Date December 2008   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Eligibility Criteria  ICMJE

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Have advanced-stage cancer and anxiety.
  • Be between the ages of 18 - 70.

Note: The location for the two treatment sessions is Los Angeles, California. Treatment sessions are scheduled three to six weeks apart, and they include one overnight hospital stay both times.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Not have cancer that affects the central nervous system or brain function.
  • Have no history of major psychiatric disorder.
  • Have no kidney disease, abnormal liver functions, epilepsy, or cardiovascular disease, including untreated hypertension.
  • Not be taking insulin, oral hypoglycemic, anti-seizure, or cardiovascular medications (except anti-hypertensive drugs).
  • May take PRN benzodiazepines up to 3 days before the session.
  • No Prozac for the previous 5 weeks.
  • No medications the day of and the day after treatment sessions, except may take ongoing adjuvant chemotherapy as prescribed, prescribed or over-the-counter non-narcotic pain medication at any time, and narcotic pain medications up to eight hours before administration of psilocybin and six hours after administration.
  • No alcohol consumption the day before, the day of, and the day after a session.
  • Female subjects of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test and agree to use an effective form of birth control.
Sex/Gender  ICMJE
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Ages  ICMJE 18 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Accepts Healthy Volunteers  ICMJE No
Contacts  ICMJE Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Listed Location Countries  ICMJE United States
Removed Location Countries  
Administrative Information
NCT Number  ICMJE NCT00302744
Other Study ID Numbers  ICMJE HEFFTER11287-01
Has Data Monitoring Committee Yes
U.S. FDA-regulated Product Not Provided
IPD Sharing Statement  ICMJE Not Provided
Current Responsible Party Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Original Responsible Party Not Provided
Current Study Sponsor  ICMJE Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Original Study Sponsor  ICMJE University of California, Los Angeles
Collaborators  ICMJE Heffter Research Institute
Investigators  ICMJE
Principal Investigator: Charles S. Grob, MD University of California, Los Angeles
PRS Account Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Verification Date April 2022

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP