Ketamine for Depression

by on April 23, 2012

People suffering from depression may be able to find relief by using ketamine. While it is not yet approved to treat depression, it has been recognized as effective for this condition.

Ketamine helps people with depression by going to work on the mood-regulators located in the human brain. As a result of the drug blocking these receptors, patients normally feel better within a matter of hours.  Its effects are somewhat long-lasting ones that can be felt for up to a week after receiving a dose. According to a study performed at Yale University, this is because ketamine provides a “dissociative effect” in which users become mentally disconnected from themselves and the world around them. As such, it has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD as well.

Current Research

Clinic trials are currently underway at the Nuero Psychiatric Center in Houston, Texas. Here, physicians are working with a group of clinically depressed patients to test the long-term effectiveness of ketamine in treating depression. Those who are participating in the study received an initial shot of ketamine and then they will be evaluated for a short time thereafter. If the results are promising, they could receive a dose up to three times a week in order to find out if this drug has long-term potential for treating clinical depression.

Potential Uses

Since it is unclear how ketamine might best be used to treat depression, doctors are considering more than one option. One would be to use the drug instead of other antidepressants such as Prozac or Celexa. Another option would be to use ketamine in conjunction with either of these two medications. Since many of the drugs currently being prescribed to treat depression take several weeks to be effective, ketamine could be given along with these medications in the early stages of treatment. This could be an ideal solution in many cases since the benefits of ketamine are normally felt very quickly.

Scientists are hopeful that ketamine can be a viable alternative for those who are suffering from chronic depression.  While much research remains to be done, many are hopeful this medication can eventually be approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be used for this purpose.