Is Ketamine The New Cure For Depression?

Dr. James Murrough and his team of researchers believe that a major breakthrough has been made in the treatment of severe depression. Ketamine, more commonly known as the hallucinogenic drug, “Special K,” can be used to help those with severe depression overcome their symptoms. Normally the drug is taken in large does to for recreational purposes. But in a recent study conducted by Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, researchers found when ketamine was administered in small doses, those suffering from severe depression saw significant change.

The study presented to the American Psychiatric Association was based on a simple hypothesis: “Could a single injection of ketamine be rapidly antidepressant?” The study compared patients 24 hours after they had taken either ketamine or another drug that has been used to treat depression. The results are dumbfounding.

63.8 percent of patients who took ketamine treatments experienced serious improvements in their symptoms of depression. Only 28 percent of those in the placebo group felt similar improvements. Even after a week of testing, almost half of ketamine patients still benefited from their treatments. Some patients even felt less depressed within just four hours of receiving their doses.

Ketamine is already approved as an anesthetic, so there should be a limited amount of obstacles in getting the drug to market. That being said, ketamine is still a powerful hallucinogenic drug. It’s just a matter of time before some junkie fakes being depressed so he can get high and ruins the whole treatment for everyone.

Murrough is cautious of the product, and doesn’t use it on his own patients. But he still recognizes the immediate appeal of the drug. He can’t fault those who are already using it. “That clinicians are doing this speaks to the desperation of these patients,” he said. “Who am I to tell them, ‘Sorry, but you need to wait five years for more research before you can feel better’?

We should be joyous but cautious in approaching this newfound treatment—hopeful for those suffering from this terrible disease, but concerned about whether or not this new drug can be abused.