Ketamine Provides Rapid Care over Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

  • Ketamine Provides Rapid Care over Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Ketamine Provides Rapid Care over Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Ketamine gained its negative reputation when it became a popular street drug that offers a trancelike, hallucinatory high effect. New findings on the clinical efficacy of the well-known party drug may pave the way for it to move out of the club and into the doctor's office.

Because the drug is already licensed as a medicine for its anaesthetic effects, it is already being prescribed for depression "off label" in private clinics, the BBC reports.

All 68 participants were hospitalised and given antidepressants in the study, carried out by Johnson and Johnson-owned research group Janssen in conjunction with the Yale School of Medicine.

The first new drug for depression in 35 years may soon be approved.

The scientists found that those who had taken the esketamine reported significantly decreased suicidal thoughts and reduced depressive symptoms at four hours and 24 hours after administration, though after 25 days the treatment showed no greater effect than the placebo.

Ketamine could be used to treat people at imminent risk of suicide.

Researchers compared the effects of two treatment options: the first was standard treatment with antidepressants in hospital plus a nasal spray containing esketamine (part of the ketamine molecule); while the other was standard treatment plus a placebo. Considering that almost all available antidepressants take days to have an effect, this could mean ketamine has a real future filling a current gap in depression treatment. The nasal spray will be required to undergo phase 3 trials before potential approval by the FDA.

BBC reported that scientists in the United Kingdom are also looking into ketamine.

Dr. James Stone of the Royal College of Psychiatrists told the news publication that the USA research about ketamine is "interesting".

"The main reason for its significance is because this is being developed by a drug company and it's potentially quite likely that this medication might become available as a treatment available on the NHS for depression", he said.

"The interesting U.S. study confirmed the findings from successful studies into intravenous ketamine", said Dr James Stone from Royal College of Psychiatrists, "The main reason for its significance is because this is being developed by a drug company and it's potentially quite likely that this medication might become available as a treatment available on the NHS for depression". "Protection of the public's health is part of our responsibility as well, and as physicians, we are responsible for preventing new drug epidemics", AJP editor Robert Freedman, M.D. said in a press release published via the American Psychiatric Association.