Last week, the news from Australia proves that the renaissance of psychedelics is here.
With these changes come major questions about the importance of safe prescribing practices. While many studies indicate their potential to treat a variety of mental and physical conditions, the prescription of these substances is novel and will attract the attention of the world. Noe to Australia, we have an obligation to get this right and this means adding to the literature around the safety and efficacy of these treatments, as well as concerns about the potential for abuse.
The need for safe prescribing practices in medicine is not a new concept. In fact, it is a fundamental aspect of good medical practice and is essential for ensuring that patients receive the best possible care. Safe prescribing practices help to minimize the risk of adverse effects and maximize the benefits of treatment, by ensuring that the right dose is given to the right patient at the right time.
When it comes to psychedelics (and Cannabis Medicines), safe prescribing practices are especially important, as these substances can have significant psychological and physiological effects. For example, some people may experience anxiety or paranoia after taking cannabis, while others may experience intense and potentially overwhelming hallucinations with psychedelics. To mitigate these risks, it is essential that doctors are trained in the safe use of these substances, and that they have the tools, such as OnTracka, to prescribe them effectively and responsibly.
One of the key tools that psychiatrists need to prescribe psychedelics safely is access to accurate information about their pharmacology and efficacy. To help ensure that doctors have access to this information, there is a significant need for credible data to be collected from proven technology providers that are patient-focused and built to regulatory standards with the right data integrity to ensure real-world data can be used to accelerate our understanding of the exciting yet complex medicines.
In addition to access to accurate information, doctors also need to have access to guidance on the safe and effective use of cannabis and psychedelics. This guidance should be based on the latest evidence and should be regularly updated to reflect new developments in the field.
One potential source of guidance for doctors is clinical practice guidelines or custom protocols, which provide recommendations on the best practices for treating specific conditions. For example, clinical practice guidelines custom-built into software like OnTracka could provide guidance on the appropriate dose and frequency of psychedelic use for specific conditions, as well as information on potential risks and side effects.
Another important tool for safe prescribing is the engagement of the patient as an active participant in real-world research studies to provide educational resources to future prescribers, patients and the government. With the capacities of cutting-edge technologies that are compliant and patient-focused, we know that having patients self-monitor their progress and challenges through a mobile application can lead to positive changes in their behaviour and that the use of a mobile application, such as OnTracka, can also assist patients to reduce symptoms that they may be experiencing while also improving their coping skills.
Finally, safe prescribing practices for psychedelics should also include measures to prevent abuse. It is recognised by the MAPS that individuals have been harmed by misconduct in therapy, including psychedelic-assisted therapy, and we need to ensure that patients are protected with the appropriate tools for the safe prescribing of Psychedelic medicines.