“If the results are confirmed in subsequent studies ... antidepressants may no longer need to be stopped for psilocybin treatment,” says MindMed Executive President Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli.
Biotechnology company MindMed has released new data showing how a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) interacts with psilocybin in humans, providing preliminary evidence these drugs could be safely used together without impacting psilocybin’s effectiveness to tackle depression and anxiety.
SSRI drugs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant that can relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the level of serotonin — often referred to as the “feel-good hormone” because it is responsible for stabilizing our mood, feelings of wellbeing, and happiness — within a person’s brain.
Because psilocybin is being investigated as a treatment for depression and anxiety, it is vital to understand how this drug interacts with current antidepressant treatments. Before this study, it was unclear if antidepressant medicines would interact with psilocybin, with some case reports indicating that antidepressants may reduce a person’s response to psychedelics.
The MindMed-sponsored study, carried out by the University Hospital Basel Liechti Lab, showed that pre-treatment with the SSRI escitalopram had no relevant impact on the positive mood effects of psilocybin. However, it significantly reduced negative effects such as anxiety and adverse cardiovascular reactions when compared with a placebo pre-treatment in healthy human participants.
For the study, participants either received 10mg of escitalopram daily for seven days followed by 20mg daily for the next seven days, including the day of psilocybin administration, or 14 days of placebo pre-treatment before psilocybin administration.
The researchers found that pre-treatment with escitalopram did not alter the pharmacokinetics of psilocin — the active compound that the prodrug psilocybin is converted into in humans by the process of dephosphorylation. The half-life of psychoactive psilocin was 1.8 hours, with a range of 1.1 to 2.2 hours, which was consistent with the short duration of action of psilocybin.
It also did not alter QTc intervals (a measure of hearth rhythms) or circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) levels before or after the administration of psilocybin.
“Two key questions arise around the use of psilocybin in patients undergoing antidepressant treatment,” explained the study’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Matthias Liechti. “First, for safety reasons, should a patient stop using antidepressants before receiving psilocybin? Second, if there’s no safety risk, will the antidepressant reduce the patient’s response to psilocybin?”
“These results indicate that psilocybin may be dosed during escitalopram treatment without apparent impact on the effect of psilocybin. Thus, the study answers the first question and provides a positive indication for the second.”
The results of this study highlight important areas for future research, with the authors suggesting studies with a longer antidepressant pre-treatment time and patients with psychiatric disorders to define interactions between antidepressants and psilocybin further.
“If the results are confirmed in subsequent studies, with other substances and in patients rather than healthy individuals, antidepressants may no longer need to be stopped for psilocybin treatment,” added MindMed’s Executive President Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli. As the researchers noted, this would eliminate the risk of adverse effects due to escitalopram treatment interruption to participate in a psilocybin treatment, for example, in a clinical trial or for compassionate use.
I am very interested in this study and would love to be on email for new information coming out.
Who ever wrote this has no idea what they are talking about. Someone on an SSRI would need to take 4X the amount of psilocybin to have the same effect of someone who has not taken them.
Nope, taco. You are thinking of MDMA.
I just took 4.2g of high quality mushrooms, in a group with others taking the same, and I had a significantly reduced response. I am also the only one who was an an SSRI, 100mg Zoloft. I had hardly any visual effects. Audio was enhanced, but was simply the audio of the environment and not any type of hallucination. Several studies show some SSRI takers have this response. Unfortunately.
I had the same experience with 8 grams Mexicana ‘truffels’ while using 20 mg. paroxetine. Virtually no effects. The same thing with MDMA. Both psylocybine and MDMA are supposed to influence the serotonine system, but do (sometimes?) no longer produce this effect when this system has already been altered by SRRI’s.
See also: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8726753/
I agree. I take 20mg of paroxatine for twenty years and I had about 8 grams yesterday and very very little to no effect. I also can take thumbprints of lsd crystal all day with no effect. Also blocked by SSRI. I don’t take much of those right now because it’s a waste of money for me.
For years I tried and tried again to experience the effects of psilocybin and LSD. Highest doses attempted for each was, 5 drops of liquid LSD and 11 grams of mushrooms. The LSD had very little effect on me, I wasn’t tired, I giggled a lot and enjoyed looking at colors, if I looked at something long enough it would move a little. Nothing crazy. The mushrooms had 0 effect on me whatsoever. My roommate was arguing with inanimate objects and I was bored. Then one day I saw a random article on the Internet about the interaction between SSRI’s and psychedelics. At this time I had been taking various doses and types of SSRI’s, at different times up to 40mg, for the last 10 years. Finally I had an answer. Not sure why it hadn’t crossed my mind before that but. You know how it is. 🤷🏼♀️
I don’t know if this is relevant or something to do with maybe another drug interaction but GHB also has zero effect. 🤷🏼♀️
I just started growing mushrooms for personal use I take 50 mg of setraline a day. My shrink told me that was the lowest effective dose. I’ve been taking 1/2 a pill for a week. I did shrooms once in high school. 2g, 4g, 6, waited a week 7g. Finally had a some what of a spiritual experience but nothing like described in “hero dose” I’m just not going to take zoloft anymore. I’ll have a new harvest in a couple weeks hope 🙏 it’s better. Don’t get me wrong I quit drinking in 2015, smoking and reduced my benzos by 60% just from microdosing.
SSRIs block the 5-HT2A receptors thereby blunting the effects of psilocybin. I’ve been on 20mg citalopram for 16 years and recently tried 1.6g of dried mushroom and nothing happened. What I would like to do is microdose during a long taper of the citalopram to hopefully overcome the negative withdrawal effects. Seems like there should be a study on this.
I just stopped my Paxil ten days ago. So far so good. Soon, shroom!💚
I know everyone is different but I’ve been on 200mgs zoloft for years & had no issues with mushrooms or lsd or 4-ho-met or 5-meo-dmt or anything else. I typically take a little more than my husband because I do take other meds as well but not much. Just don’t take heroic doses and seems each person’s tolerance will differ.
Unfortunately I have seen first hand that SSRI drugs do affect the effect of psilocybin on a user. Also, long term use of SSRI drugs may remain in the body. Even after discontinuing them for 4 weeks the user still was unaffected by a psylocybin does that did affect a non user of SSRI drugs.
More work is required..
Note: SSRIs do not block the serotonin in receptors. The block the reuptake of the serotonin into the presynaptic neuron.
It is believed that the receptors are so saturated with the neurotransmitter that psilocin has less effect.
Taking 50mg of Paxil. Microdosing .3 every day. Not sure if it’s doing anything. Want to trip but afraid to go above .3 while on Paxil. Should I be afraid to trip? Or should I just try?