Psilocybin use effective in treating cluster headaches, migraines



Schindler E. Psychedelics and clinical trials: What is the data for primary headache disorders? Presented at: American Headache Society annual scientific meeting; June 9-12, 2022; Denver.

Disclosures: Schindler reports research funding from Ceruvia Lifesciences, Clusterbusters, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Wallace Research Foundation; serving on the advisory boards of Ceruvia Lifesciences and Clusterbusters; and receiving US patent 20210236523A1.

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DENVER — Psychedelic use, specifically psilocybin, is effective in treating cluster headaches and migraines, Emmanuelle Schindler, MD, PhDsaid at the American Headache Society annual scientific meeting.

“There is overlap between psychedelics and existing headache medications,” Schindler, assistant professor and medical director of the Headache Center of Excellence at Yale School of Medicine, said in a presentation. “This capacity to have lasting effects after prevented dosing is what makes these compounds unique.”

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Schindler and colleagues used data from various patient reports and surveys to design and conduct early proof-of-concept studies using psilocybin to treat migraines and cluster headaches, including a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with patients who experienced at least two migraine attacks per week for up to 65 weeks.

“Compared to a placebo, psilocybin reduced the number of migraines by about 15%,” Schindler said. “Pain was also reduced. There was also a reduction in the functional impairment during migraine attack.”

Schindler and colleagues also performed a similar study evaluating psilocybin for the treatment of cluster headaches.

“In those who received placebo, compared to baseline, there was no difference,” she said. “But in those who received psilocybin there was about a 30% reduction over 3 weeks. … And this was seen out to 8 weeks. “

Schindler said more studies are needed and emphasized that they must focus on safety.

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