Ketamine research on the upswing for severe depression

Interest in the dissociative anesthetic ketamine continues to be strong as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression and similar conditions.

But the enthusiasm surrounding the drug is likely higher than the quality of evidence supporting its use to treat severe depression.

Research into the drug’s potential to treat depression, however, is ramping up.

One recent small study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that a single dose of the drug reduced the severity of depression in individuals with suicidal ideation.

The study administered intravenous ketamine to 39 participants and midazolam, a benzodiazepine, to another 39. Investigators administered ketamine at relatively low dose levels where it did not have an anesthetic effect.

The blinded study also found that the drug made patients feel safer, and it also quickly improved neurocognition. In addition, it provided persistent therapeutic effects for up to six weeks afte…

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