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“Acute adverse reactions to LSD in clinical and experimental use in the United Kingdom”.
Brit. J. Psychiat.. 1971;118:229-230.
This survey of United Kingdom experience with LSD in clinical work covers some 4,300 subjects with a total of some 49,500 LSD sessions. There was an attendant suicide rate of 0.7 per 1,000 patients, a rate of 9 per 1,000 patients for psychosis lasting for more than 48 hours from which some two-thirds recovered fully, and an accident rate of 2.3 per 1,000 patients. The survey is not one that permits clear comparison with other forms of psychiatric treatment, but the following conclusion is probably justified: treatment with LSD does give rise to acute adverse reactions, but if there is adequate psychiatric supervision and proper conditions for its administration the incidence of such reactions is not great.
It is well recognized that LSD lysergide can give serious adverse reactions, including suicide and prolonged psychosis Smart and Bateman 1967 have reviewed the subject thoroughly. However examples reported refer largely to cases where the LSD was self-administered. Medical case reports usually cover small case numbers, and publication may be determined by high adverse reaction rates. There has been no methodological survey of the pooled experience of psychiatrists since Cohen's study in 1960. This reported 44 replies sent out to 62 American investigators who had published papers or whose work was known to the author. Replies covered 5,000 subjects with 25,000 LSD or mescaline sessions. In this series, there were only two suicides that Cohen regarded as directly related to the LSD, and there were psychotic reactions lasting more than 48 hours at a rate of 0.8 per 1,000 experimental subjects and 1.8 per 1000 patients. It is unfortunate that one-third of the investigators failed to reply to Cohen's questinnaire.
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