Experts are studying the effects of ketamine on depression
Depression is widespread in our society today. Doctors are looking for ways and means to better protect people from depression or to treat them more effectively. Researchers have now found that the drug ketamine can be used to treat severe depression.
Scientists at internationally recognized Oxford University found that ketamine was effective in treating severe depression. The drug also helps when no other drugs lead to improvement. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Lancet Psychiatry".
What is ketamine?
Ketamine is licensed for use in anesthesia. The drug is widely used in veterinary and human medicine. The drug is also often used as an illegal lot drug. Current research has now shown that ketamine can also be used to treat severe depression.
Keatmin improves symptoms quickly
For their investigation, the experts analyzed the data from more than 100 subjects. The researchers said they had received a total of around 1,000 infusions of ketamine over the course of six years. The doctors were able to determine that the medication led to a rapid improvement in symptoms when all other means and methods were ineffective. The benefits achieved continued over a period of up to 14 days, the scientists add.
Benefits can only be maintained by repeated use
But ketamine is just a normal drug and maintaining its benefits is a challenge, the experts emphasize. So far, the only way to maintain the benefits of ketamine has been to repeat doses.
Treatment with ketamine should only be given in specialist centers
The treatment of patients should only be carried out in specialist centers and formally followed up in national or international registers, the experts say. This would prevent security or abuse problems from long-term use. It also helps physicians determine which dose, frequency, and duration of treatment work best.
Results should be examined closely
At the moment, doctors can also prescribe the drug to patients to use it for other purposes than it was originally intended, the scientists explain. The experts warn that the data from these prescriptions and the results obtained should be examined more closely in order to better assess and reduce the risks from their use. Possible negative effects of treating severe depression with ketamine are also detectable.
No side effects like with antidepressants
We hope that the results achieved here enable the innovative use of ketamine in depression that is resistant to normal treatment, say the doctors. The ketamine does not have the unpleasant effects of other antidepressants such as lithium tremor, fatigue, or nausea, the researchers say.
More research is needed
Despite clinical studies that showed a rapid improvement in mood after ketamine infusions, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge of the correct dosage, effectiveness and safety of long-term use, the experts explain. Before ketamine can be recommended for use in clinical practice, further extensive research is required. "This is the only way we can understand how we have to use ketamine to treat depression," the doctors add. (As)