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Microdosing Psychedelics to Improve Mood

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05259943
Recruitment Status : Not yet recruiting
First Posted : March 2, 2022
Last Update Posted : March 29, 2022
Nikean Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Rotem Petranker, University of Toronto

Tracking Information
First Submitted Date  ICMJE February 15, 2022
First Posted Date  ICMJE March 2, 2022
Last Update Posted Date March 29, 2022
Estimated Study Start Date  ICMJE April 2022
Estimated Primary Completion Date April 2023   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Current Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: February 25, 2022)
Change in Cornell Dysthymia Rating Scale (CDRS) [ Time Frame: Weeks 1, 3, and 7. Additional follow-up on weeks 11 and 13. ]
The CDRS is based on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale but is oriented towards episodic rather than chronic states of depression. It contains 20 items on which participants can be rated between 0 (symptom absent) and 4 (severe symptoms). This scale aims to assess symptomatology with a finer grain for those whose symptoms may be milder (Cohen, 1997). Subsequent research supports the notion that this scale has better construct validity for those suffering from persistent depressive disorder (Hellerstein et al., 2002).
Original Primary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Same as current
Change History
Current Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE
 (submitted: February 25, 2022)
Change in Patient Health Questionnaire Somatic-Anxiety-Depression [ Time Frame: Every week until week 14. ]
The PHQ-SADS is a 32-item self-report subset of the full PHQ designed to detect the co-occurrence of somatic, anxiety, and depressive symptoms (the SAD triad). Responses are measured using a likert scale between 0 (not bothered) and 2 (bothered a lot). Higher scores suggest more severe depressive symptoms.
Original Secondary Outcome Measures  ICMJE Same as current
Current Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Descriptive Information
Brief Title  ICMJE Microdosing Psychedelics to Improve Mood
Official Title  ICMJE Microdosing Psychedelics to Improve Mood
Brief Summary The purpose of this trial is to examine the safety and efficacy of small (2mg) sub hallucinogenic doses of psilocybin in people with Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Detailed Description This protocol is for a University of Toronto - sponsored, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover phase 2 study of the safety and efficacy of low doses of psilocybin in subjects with depressive symptoms who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) criteria for diagnosis of a persistent depressive disorder (PDD) with pure dysthymic syndrome and who are either unwilling to pursue standard treatment (psychotherapy and/or pharmacotherapy) or have previously been non-responsive to standard treatment. This feasibility study will assess whether microdosing has a short-term impact on participant ratings of depressive symptoms. Participants will be administered one dose of either placebo or psilocybin once weekly for four weeks, and then all participants will be administered a dose of psilocybin once weekly for four additional weeks. Short surveys will be collected once weekly three days after the administration of psilocybin/placebo, and follow-ups will occur for up to two years following the beginning of the trial. Using this design will maximize the experimental power to detect an effect if one exists and would inform future research on microdosing in terms of duration, effect size, and expectancy bias.
Study Type  ICMJE Interventional
Study Phase  ICMJE Phase 2
Study Design  ICMJE Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Intervention Model Description:
This trial starts as a placebo-control for 4 weeks and then becomes Open Label for 4 additional weeks. Follow-up assessments will be performed weekly for the first 4 weeks following the last Open Label week.
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Masking Description:

Participants will not know whether they received placebo or psilocybin in the first stage of the trial.

Care providers and investigators will not know whether participants received placebo or psilocybin.

Primary Purpose: Treatment
Condition  ICMJE Persistent Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia
Intervention  ICMJE
  • Drug: Psilocybin first
    Participants will receive 8 doses of 2mg psilocybin.
  • Drug: Placebo first
    Participants will receive 4 doses of placebo followed by 4 doses of 2mg psilocybin
Study Arms  ICMJE
  • Placebo Comparator: Blinded Placebo
    In this condition participants will receive an inert placebo once weekly for 4 weeks, but they will not know whether they receive placebo or psilocybin.
    Intervention: Drug: Placebo first
  • Experimental: Blinded Psilocybin
    In this condition participants will receive psilocybin once weekly for 4 weeks, but they will not know whether they receive placebo or psilocybin.
    Intervention: Drug: Psilocybin first
  • Experimental: Open Label
    In this condition participants will receive psilocybin once weekly for 4 weeks, and will be told that they are receiving psilocybin.
    • Drug: Psilocybin first
    • Drug: Placebo first
Publications * Not Provided

*   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 Not yet recruiting
Estimated Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: February 25, 2022)
Original Estimated Enrollment  ICMJE Same as current
Estimated Study Completion Date  ICMJE August 2023
Estimated Primary Completion Date April 2023   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Eligibility Criteria  ICMJE

Inclusion Criteria:

Participants must:

  • Have given written informed consent.
  • Have a high school level of education.
  • Be fluent in speaking and reading the predominantly used or recognized language of the study site (i.e. English).
  • Be 18 to 65 years old.
  • If of childbearing potential, must have a negative pregnancy test at study entry and must agree to use adequate birth control through 10 days after the last Experimental Session (refer to section 9.4.2 for contraceptive guidelines).
  • Have a preexisting diagnosis of PDD with dysthymic subtype or receive a diagnosis of PDD with dysthymic subtype during screening.
  • Agree that for one week preceding each psilocybin session, they will refrain from taking any nonprescription medication, nutritional supplements, or herbal supplement except when approved by the research team. Exceptions will be evaluated by the research team and will include acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and common doses of vitamins and minerals with the exception of SAM-e, 5-HTP, L-tryptophan, and St. John's Wort.
  • Agree to consume approximately the same amount of caffeine-containing beverage (i.e. coffee, tea) that they consume on a usual morning, before arriving at the research unit on the mornings of psilocybin session days. Caffeine consumption should not exceed more than ≥600mg/day. If the patient does not routinely consume caffeinated beverages, they must agree not to do so on psilocybin session days.
  • Agree not to take any as needed (PRN) medications on the mornings of psilocybin sessions. Non-routine PRN medications for treating breakthrough pain that were taken in the 24 hours before the psilocybin session may result in rescheduling the treatment session, with the decision at the discretion of the investigators.
  • Agree to refrain from using any psychoactive drugs, including alcoholic beverages, within 24 hours of each psilocybin administration. As described elsewhere, exceptions include daily use of caffeine.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • The subject has participated in another investigational study within 60 days prior to the screening visit.
  • Cardiovascular conditions: coronary artery disease, uncontrolled hypertension, angina, a clinically significant ECG abnormality (i.e. atrial fibrillation), TIA in the last 6 months, stroke, peripheral or pulmonary vascular disease (no active claudication).
  • Blood pressure exceeding screening criteria described below:

    ○ Cardiovascular screening:

    • At the screening and randomization visit, blood pressure will be assessed to qualify to proceed in the trial. Each assessment occasion will involve two or more blood pressure readings. To qualify for the study, the mean blood pressure (mmHg) of the two readings will not exceed 140 systolic and 90 diastolic.
    • Blood pressure (BP) will be taken while subjects are at rest and have been seated or supine for at least 5 minutes. The assessment will involve the average of 2 or more readings separated by fifteen minutes. If the first 2 readings differ by more than 5 mmHg, additional readings will be obtained and averaged. During the BP assessment, the volunteer will be acclimated to the automated blood pressure monitoring equipment by repeatedly taking blood pressure (at least 3 readings) with the device.
  • Epilepsy with a history of seizures.
  • The subject has a history of cerebral ischemia, transient ischemic attack, intracranial aneurysm, or arteriovenous malformation.
  • The subject has a clinically significant history of head injury or head trauma per the judgement of the investigator.
  • The subject has a history of cancer.
  • Unstable medical condition, severe renal disease (creatinine clearance < 40 ml/min using the Cockcroft and Gault equation), hepatic disease (known history of liver disease, abnormal elevations in LFTs), or serious central nervous system pathology.
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes; if taking oral hypoglycemic agent, then no history of hypoglycemia.
  • Are pregnant (positive urine pregnancy test assessed at screening) or nursing, or are of childbearing potential and are not practicing an effective means of birth control (refer to section 9.4.2 for contraceptive guidelines).
  • Currently taking on a regular (i.e. daily) basis any psychotropic medications including: investigational agents, psychoactive prescription medications (i.e. benzodiazepines), antidepressants, medications having a primary pharmacological effect on serotonin neurons (i.e. ondansetron), medications that are MAO inhibitors, opioid medications. If previously on antidepressants a minimum of five half lives must have passed from the last dose of medication plus an additional seven days of stabilization before first administration of the drug.
  • Current use of any the following of potent metabolic inducers or inhibitors: Inducers - Rifamycin (rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine), anticonvulsants (carbamazepine, phenytoin, Phenobarbital), Nevirapine, Efavirenz, Taxol, Dexamethasone), St John's Wort; All cytochrome P450 Inhibitors - including all HIV protease inhibitors, verapamil, diltiazem, itraconazole, ketoconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin, and troleandomycin.
  • Use of steroids within the past two weeks.
  • Current use of the following drugs will also meet exclusion criteria: ergot alkaloids, pimozide, midazolam, triazolam, lovastatin, simvastatin, fentanyl.
  • Agree to refrain from using any psychoactive drugs, including alcoholic beverages within 24 hours of each drug administration. The exception is caffeine.
  • Must not be a habitual smoker.
  • Refrain from starting any new medications.
  • Refrain from starting any new complementary or alternative medicine practices (i.e. nutrition/diet modifications, supplements, meditation practice, etc.).
  • Are willing to comply with medication requirements per the protocol (refer to Section 6.2).
  • Lifestyle Criteria; Refrain from working night shifts.

Psychiatric Exclusion Criteria:

  • Current or past history of meeting DSM-V criteria for Schizophrenia, Psychotic Disorder, or Bipolar I or II Disorder.
  • Active Major Depressive Disorder Episode.
  • Having a first or second degree relative with schizophrenia, psychotic disorder (unless substance induced or due to a medical condition), or bipolar I or II disorder.
  • Currently meets DSM-V criteria for Dissociative Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or other psychiatric conditions judged to be incompatible with establishment of rapport or safe exposure to psilocybin.
  • Current or past history within the last 5 years of meeting DSM-V criteria for a moderate or severe alcohol or drug use disorder (excluding caffeine and nicotine).
  • Use within 6 months of psychedelic substances.
Sex/Gender  ICMJE
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Ages  ICMJE 18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Accepts Healthy Volunteers  ICMJE No
Contacts  ICMJE
Contact: Rotem Petranker rotem@petranker.com
Listed Location Countries  ICMJE Canada
Removed Location Countries  
Administrative Information
NCT Number  ICMJE NCT05259943
Other Study ID Numbers  ICMJE ABC123DRM
Has Data Monitoring Committee No
U.S. FDA-regulated Product
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: No
IPD Sharing Statement  ICMJE
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Plan Description: We will pre-register our study and we will make our data available. Whether IPD will be available is TBD.
Current Responsible Party Rotem Petranker, University of Toronto
Original Responsible Party Same as current
Current Study Sponsor  ICMJE Rotem Petranker
Original Study Sponsor  ICMJE Same as current
Collaborators  ICMJE Nikean Foundation
Investigators  ICMJE Not Provided
PRS Account University of Toronto
Verification Date March 2022

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