Could a novel psychedelic treat alcohol use disorder?

Alcohol use disorder

A novel psychedelic compound, combined with psychological support, will be explored as a potential new treatment for people living with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in a Phase IIa study.

The trial uses Beckley Psytech’s lead candidate BPL-003, a short-duration and fast-acting synthetic formulation of psychedelic mebufotenin (5-MeO-DMT), which is naturally found in plants and toads.

Clerkenwell Health’s research facility will provide an additional site for trial participants in and around London.

NHS figures suggest over 7.5 million people in the UK live with AUD – commonly referred to as alcohol dependency.

Dr Henry Fisher, Chief Scientific Officer at Clerkenwell Health, said: “Conventional treatments for alcohol dependency aren’t producing meaningful improvements and new avenues must be explored. This trial will assess whether psychedelic-assisted treatment can be an effective therapy for alcohol use disorder, with the hope of rolling out the treatment widely.”

The open-label trial, which is already underway at King’s College London, will evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamic effects of a single dose of BPL-003, in combination with abstinence-oriented psychological support in participants with AUD.

BPL-003 is administered intranasally and can elicit psychedelic experiences of similar intensity but shorter duration than psilocybin, which is found in ‘magic mushrooms’ and has shown early promise in substance abuse disorders.

Dr Rob Conley, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Beckley Psytech, said: “We’re committed to developing a transformative and effective treatment option for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder. Based on our preclinical and Phase I data, we are optimistic about the potential therapeutic benefits of BPL-003 for substance use disorders and we are excited to evaluate the compound further in this clinical trial.”

Patients interested in participating in this trial can find out more on the Clerkenwell Health website.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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