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Doctor Takes Bid To Treat Patient With MDMA To Court

Hannah Blackiston

| Last updated 

Doctor Takes Bid To Treat Patient With MDMA To Court

Featured Image Credit: Reinier Donker / Alamy Stock Photo

In what is considered to be the first of its kind in Australia, a Melbourne psychiatrist has taken a request to prescribe a 'severely unwell' patient with MDMA to court.

The ABC reports how consultant psychiatrist Dr Eli Kotler believes the drug would safely help his patient and is now battling the Victorian Department of Health after it knocked back his initial application.

The rejection stated that there is currently insufficient data to establish the safety and efficacy of MDMA in clinical practice.

YAY Media AS / Alamy Stock Photo
YAY Media AS / Alamy Stock Photo

Dr Kotler's challenge was seen in Moorabbin Magistrates' Court and has been adjourned to early next year.

Kylie Evans, the barrister representing Victoria's Health Department, said that, as far as they are aware, this is the first time a court in Australia will hear a case seeking permission from the state to treat a patient with MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

At the moment, MDMA can't be used for anything other than medical research, scientific or teaching purposes.

Dr Kotler's application to treat his patient, a woman who can't be named and has a 'range of mental health issues', could have a significant impact on the future use of MDMA in treatment if it is successful.

The case will see experts from California and the United Kingdom called upon.

Dr Kotler's case follows a review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which regulates medicines, to downgrade MDMA from a prohibited substance to a controlled drug, which would allow it to be used for medical treatment under strict conditions.

A similar decision is currently being made on psilocybin, the main compound in psychedelic mushrooms.

If the downgrade is successful Dr Kotler's case will no longer be relevant.

The review, which looked at the use of MDMA and psilocybin in the treatment of mental health conditions including PTSD and anxiety, found both drugs 'may show promise in highly selected populations but only where these medicines are administered in closely clinically supervised settings and with intensive professional support'.

The case will return to court next year.

Topics: News, Australia

Hannah Blackiston
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