Ketamine is an anaesthetic that can be used in hospitals to put patients under for surgery. The chemical compound is also used to keep farm animals calm and the drug is the most widely used animal tranquiliser. In the 1960s and 1970s, scientists discovered that the compound was a powerful dissociative anaesthetic and research into the use of ketamine for depression began.
In the last 20 years, there has been a large increase in the number of studies on the use of ketamine for depression. The substance has shown promise as a treatment for people who do not respond to other treatments, and is often used as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
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What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic. The compound is a water-soluble, injectable drug that is typically used to put animals under anaesthetic. It is derived from the chemical compound phencyclidine (PCP). Ketamine can be inhaled, swallowed, sublingually absorbed and administered intravenously.
When injected, ketamine produces a state of dissociation, where the user is disconnected from reality and unable to form memories. The compound has also been used in research to test how people feel about the death of loved ones.
Ketamine can cause hallucinations and side effects including vomiting, nausea, sweating, confusion. The drug is often used in psychopharmacology, with the goal of testing whether it is effective as an antidepressant.
The use of ketamine as a treatment for depression dates back to the 1970s. The first research on the use of ketamine for depression was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1972. Since that time, the drug has been used in a number of different countries and studies.
A meta-analysis published in 2007 found that a single dose of ketamine resulted in a significant decrease in depressive symptoms. This analysis also found that those who responded to ketamine treatment had less improvement with subsequent treatments.
How is Ketamine Used for Depression?
Ketamine can be used to treat depression in a number of different ways. The first study that investigated ketamine’s effects was a small, randomised trial.
The researchers looked at whether the use of ketamine would help people who had previously failed to respond to antidepressant medications. Twenty-four people with a diagnosis of depression were treated with either intravenous ketamine or a placebo. The study found that, after just one injection, patients who received ketamine had a greater decrease in depression symptoms than those who received the placebo. The results of this study were published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2009. Since then, there have been a number of other studies investigating the use of ketamine for depression.
A 2016 study found that a single dose of ketamine was effective in patients with treatment-resistant depression. As like there were various other investigations done till date and found it more effective than any other treatment.