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Psychopharmacology

Effects of hallucinogenic and entactogenic drugs

Our research focuses on the effects of hallucinogens and entactogens in humans. More specifically, we are investigating the acute effects of LSD and MDMA (particularly neuronal correlates measured with fMRI) and potential therapeutic effects of LSD in anxiety and depression. Furthermore, we systematically assess the evidence for neurotoxic effects of MDMA.



Source: Liechti, Neuropsychopharm 2017

We have been involved in several studies on the effects of MDMA (NCT01951508, NCT03019822), LSD (NCT01878942, NCT02308969, NCT03019822, NCT03321136), mescaline and psilocybin (NCT04227756) in healthy participants. All studies are conducted in close cooperation with the research group of Prof Matthias Liechti, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Basel (Link). Outcomes of these studies included acute subjective effects, physiological effects, safety, and fMRI correlates of acute drug effects. Among others, this research demonstrated safety and feasibility, distinct (dose) profiles of subjective drugs effects and shed some light on neuronal correlates of acutely induced drug effects.

Currently, we aim to carry results of these phase-I-studies forward to clinical application: We are involved in a running phase-II-study investigating LSD as a treatment for anxiety associated with life-threatening diseases and generalized anxiety disorder (NCT03153579). Furthermore, we are conducting a phase-II-study which investigates LSD as a treatment for patients suffering from major depression (NCT03866252). The primary hypothesis is that two administrations of LSD can induce long-lasting symptom reductions in anxiety and depression.

STUDY PARTICIPATION

We are recruiting participants for our study on LSD as a treatment for people with depression (German speaking only). Please see here for more details.

PEOPLE

FM

Dr. med. Felix Müller MD

Project leader

Department of Psychiatry, University of Basel

Info

L

Laura Ley MSc

PhD student

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Basel

Info

CONTACT


Dr. med. Felix Müller

Department of Psychiatry (UPK)
Wilhem-Klein-Strasse 27
4002 Basel
Switzerland

Email: felix.mueller@clutterupk.ch

ma

Dr. med. Mathias Auernig MD

Study therapist

nl

Dr. med. Nico Loh MD

Study therapist

jk

Dr. med. Jan Kohut MD

Study therapist

hz

Hannes Zaczek MD

Study therapist

as

Alain Soltermann BSc

Master student

AWARDS

  • Swiss Addiction Research Award (SARA) 2019 (to Felix Müller)
  • Inger Salling Award 2020 (to Felix Müller, Milan Scheidegger, and Peter Gasser)

 

COLLABORATION

  • Research group Prof Matthias Liechti, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland Link
  • Dr Peter Gasser, private practice, Solothurn, Switzerland Link
  • Research group Prof Kim Kuypers, Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht, Netherlands Lin

 

PUBLICATIONS

MASON, N.L., KUYPERS, K.P. C., RECKWEG, J.T., MÜLLER, F., TSE, D.H.Y., DA RIOS, B., TOENNES, S.W., STIERS, P., FIELDING, A., RAMAEKERS, J.G. 2021. Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure. Transl Psychiatry.

MÜLLER, F., HOLZE, F., DOLDER, P., LEY, L., VIZELI, P., SOLTERMANN, A., LIECHTI, M.E., BORGWARDT, S. 2020. MDMA-induced changes in within-network connectivity contradict the specificity of these alterations for the effects of serotonergic hallucinogens. Neuropsychopharmacology.

HOLZE, F., VIZELI, P., LEY, L., MÜLLER, F., DOLDER, P., STOCKER, M., DUTHALER, U, VARGHESE, N., ECKERT, A., BORGWARDT, S., LIECHTI, M.E. 2020. Acute dose-dependent effects of lysergic acid diethylamide in a double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology.

MÜLLER, F., MÜHLHAUSER, M., HOLZE, F., LANG, U.E., WALTER, M., LIECHTI, M.E., BORGWARDT, S. 2020. Treatment of a complex personality disorder using repeated doses of LSD - A case report on significant improvements in the absence of acute drug effects. Frontiers in Psychiatry.

MÜLLER, F., JOHNSON, M.W., BORGWARDT, S. 2020. Editorial: Hallucinogens and entactogens: Establishing a new class of psychotherapeutic drugs? Frontiers in Psychiatry.

MASON, N, KUYPERS, K., MÜLLER, F., RECKWEG, J., TSE, D., TOENNES, S., HUTTEN, N., JANSEN, J., STIERS, P., FIELDING, A., RAMAEKERS, J.G. 2020. Me, Myself, Bye: Regional alterations in glutamate and the experience of ego dissolution with psilocybin. Neuropsychopharmacology.

HOLZE F, VIZELI P, MÜLLER F, LEY L, DUERIG R, VARGHESE N, ECKERT A, BORGWARDT S, LIECHTI ME. 2019. Distinct acute effects of LSD, MDMA, and D-amphetamine in healthy subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology.

MÜLLER, F., BORGWARDT, S. 2019 Acute effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on resting brain function. Swiss Med Wkly.

HOLZE, F., DUTHALER, U., VIZELI, P., MÜLLER, F., BORGWARDT, S., LIECHTI, M. 2019. Pharmacokinetics and subjective effects of a novel oral LSD formulation in healthy subjects. Br J Clin Pharmacol.

MÜLLER, F., BRÄNDLE, R., LIECHTI, M.E., & BORGWARDT. 2018. Neuroimaging of chronic MDMA („ecstasy“) effects: A meta-analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev.

MÜLLER, F., LIECHTI, M.E., LANG, U.E., & BORGWARDT, S. 2018. Advances and challenges in neuroimaging studies on the effects of serotonergic hallucinogens: Contributions of the resting brain. Progress in Brain Research.

MÜLLER, F., DOLDER, P. C., SCHMIDT, A., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2018. Altered network hub connectivity after acute LSD administration. NeuroImage: Clinical.

SCHMIDT, A., MÜLLER, F., DOLDER, P. C., SCHMID, Y., ZANCHI, D., EGLOFF, L., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2017. Acute effects of methylphenidate, modafinil and MDMA on negative emotion processing. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol.

SCHMIDT, A., MÜLLER, F., LENZ, C., DOLDER, P. C., SCHMID, Y., ZANCHI, D., LANG, U. E., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2017. Acute LSD effects on response inhibition neural networks. Psychol Med.

MÜLLER, F., LENZ, C., DOLDER, P. C., LANG, U. E., SCHMIDT, A., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2017. Increased thalamic resting state connectivity as a core driver of LSD-induced hallucinations. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

DOLDER, P. C., GRUNBLATT, E., MÜLLER, F., BORGWARDT, S. J. & LIECHTI, M. E. 2017. A Single Dose of LSD Does Not Alter Gene Expression of the Serotonin 2A Receptor Gene (HTR2A) or Early Growth Response Genes (EGR1-3) in Healthy Subjects. Front Pharmacol.

DOLDER, P. C., MÜLLER, F., SCHMID, Y., BORGWARDT, S. J. & LIECHTI, M. E. 2017. Direct comparison of the acute subjective, emotional, autonomic, and endocrine effects of MDMA, methylphenidate, and modafinil in healthy subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl).

SCHMIDT, A., MÜLLER, F., DOLDER, P. C., SCHMID, Y., ZANCHI, D., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2017. Comparative effects of methylphenidate, modafinil and MDMA on response inhibition neural networks in healthy subjects. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol.

MÜLLER, F., LENZ, C., DOLDER, P. C., HARDER, S., SCHMID, Y., LANG, U. E., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2017. Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects. Transl Psychiatry.

DOLDER, P. C., SCHMID, Y., MÜLLER, F., BORGWARDT, S. & LIECHTI, M. E. 2016. LSD Acutely Impairs Fear Recognition and Enhances Emotional Empathy and Sociality. Neuropsychopharmacology. 

MÜLLER, F., LENZ, C., STEINER, M., DOLDER, P. C., WALTER, M., LANG, U. E., LIECHTI, M. E. & BORGWARDT, S. 2015. Neuroimaging in moderate MDMA use: A systematic review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev.

SCHMID, Y., ENZLER, F., GASSER, P., GROUZMANN, E., PRELLER, K. H., VOLLENWEIDER, F. X., BRENNEISEN, R., MÜLLER, F., BORGWARDT, S. & LIECHTI, M. E. 2015. Acute Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Subjects. Biol Psychiatry.