Journal Article
Systematic Review
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The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic-assisted Therapies for Symptom Control in Patients Diagnosed With Serious Illness: A Systematic Review.

CONTEXT: People affected by serious illness usually experience suffering in its various dimensions, not only in the physical but also in the psychosocial and spiritual aspects. The interest in psychedelic-assisted therapies as a potential new therapeutic modality has increased since evidence suggests a significant impact of their use on the outcomes of patients with serious illness.

OBJECTIVES: To systematically review the available evidence on the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapies for symptom control in patients diagnosed with serious illness.

METHODS: The protocol of this systematic review has been prepared according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols guidelines. This review included randomized and non-randomized controlled trials published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. A comprehensive search for studies was carried out in the main scientific databases, including Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE. There were no limitations regarding the year or language of publication.

RESULTS: The sample was composed of 20 studies. The results suggest positive effects of psychedelic-assisted therapies for symptom control in patients diagnosed with serious illness, with considerable safety of use. Most studies have been conducted with lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, and N,N-dipropyltryptamine in cancer patients. The adverse effects reported were of physical and/or psychological nature and of mild to moderate intensity, transient, and self-resolutive.

CONCLUSION: The evaluated evidence suggests positive effects of psychedelic-assisted therapies for symptom control in patients diagnosed with serious illness, especially regarding symptoms of psychological and spiritual nature.

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