02 September 2006

Treating Major Depression

Existing drugs to treat major depression which is resistent to other forms of treatment take weeks to kick in. In the meantime, many patients end up dead from suicide or other depression related causes.

A new IV drug, called ketamine, in contrast, starts to mitigate major depression in about two hours and can last a week, according to an early stage double blind human trial involving 17 patients with major depression. Of the trial patients, 12 were helped by and 5 were temporarily cured by the drug. Six were still benefiting a week after receiving the drug.

Hat Tip to Science News.


Anonymous said...

Ketamine is not a new drug. It is an anesthetic that was engineered in the 1960s as a synthetic replacement for PCP. It is used recreationally at raves, often in conjunction with MDMA. It is a class C narcotic and was recently banned in the US.

It's another case of potentially medically useful drugs including MDMA, THC, LSD, and others that have been caught up in the drug war and will likely never see therapeutic use in the United States.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Thanks for the insight.

I'm less worried about drug war implications. Anti-meth fervor has already overcome rave drug worries in law enforcement. Narcotics are widely usd in medicine too. And, limited to drug resistant depression (probably largely in-patient or at least largely used in medical facilities on an outpatient basis), it might avoid hysteria.