A new study published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that an approximate one-third of patients who are referred to by researchers as having “treatment-resistant depression” experienced a significant mood improvement after they were treated with up to six intravenous ketamine infusions over the course of several weeks.
UK researchers at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford conducted the study. On their news release of the study, it was mentioned that three days after the last infusion, the depression scores had halved in 29 percent of the patients and that in those that responded to the treatment, the duration of benefit varied widely, lasting between 25 days and 8 months.
In an interview with BBC, lead researcher Dr. Rupert McShane said that some of the patients involved in the study had lived with depression for 20 years. He further says that doing the study for these people makes it worth doing psychiatry.
There have been several studies in the past that banked on the same idea of ketamine as being an alternative to treating severe depression.
– In 2012, researchers over at Yale University announced that ketamine seemingly produces rapid antidepressant responses in patients who are resistant to typical antidepressants. Study Co-author Ron Duman tells NPR that they hope their research results will give a new array of new targets that can be worked on eventually to provide a much effective way of treating depression.
– In 2013, Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine both did their own studies and revealed similar results, which were later on published. Their studies revealed that 64 percent of patients who had been treated with ketamine seemingly showed fewer depression symptoms through time.
Although several studies has already proven that ketamine do have the ability to relieve depression for some, there are still quite a few health risks linked with the drug. One of these is the fact that since ketamine is commonly used as an anesthetic for both humans and animals, it does have hallucinogenic properties being a dissociative anesthetic, as mentioned by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Some users also say that if taken in high doses, it can actually induce a somewhat terrifying out-of-body experience commonly referred to as a “K-hole.” Lastly, it is a medical fact that ketamine can cause anxiety, amnesia and cognitive difficulties.
Medical experts have always strictly warned against using ketamine as a medication when unsupervised. Even when used in clinical studies, ketamine is always administered in small doses and patients are always supervised closely.
Source: The Huffington Post