Ketamine, a club drug and anesthetic, is re-emerging in the market due to popular use among doctors who want their patients to be cured in a short period of time.
But why is Ketamine not widely prescribed by psychiatrists to people with depression?
Yale University psychiatry professor, Gerard Sanacora, had helped treat more than hundreds of patients with severe depression using quite low dosages of the drug Ketamine. Although it is a club drug, it is not yet approved for curing depression.
This so-called “off-label” prescription of the drug is said to be legal. However, Professor Sanacora said that some doctors would ask him about offering a drug that has quite a little information and has no studies yet about its possible risk in the long run.
Ketamine acts on glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that sends a signal to stimulate serotonin activity in the brain and helps treat depression.
The Yale professor would usually tell other doctors that patients who have tried standard treatments are still likely to kill or injure themselves in a short span of time even with the help of legal anti-depression drugs and, therefore, one solution is to offer a treatment by using Ketamine.
Now, more doctors are agreeing with Sanacora’s idea of offering Ketamine drug to patients struggling with depression.
In the United States and Canada, there are now many clinics that offer Ketamine to depression-stricken patients. According to Professor Sanacora, there is a survey stating that over three thousand patients, who have been using Ketamine, were treated.
A few of the small studies conducted have found Ketamine to relieve depression of suicidal patients in a few hours’ time. It has shown a quicker response to patients compared to other kinds of treatments.
Ketamine has a great potential to be an anti-depressant. It has already been known, and some studies have shown strong evidence that its effects are fast and robust as based on a consensus from the American Psychiatric Association, where Professor Sanacora is actually one of the members.
According to an assistant psychiatry professor, James Murrough, there are still quite a few questions surrounding the drug Ketamine. He also teaches neuroscience for the Icahn.
Trials have not yet been tried on a larger scale. This is the reason why they still cannot specifically quantify actual dosage for various kinds of patients dealing with severe depression.
Murrough also made a review about Ketamine, which was seen in a drug discovery journal.
Physicians are familiar with some of the effects of this drug because of its anesthetic use in the hospitals for many years now.
Murrough is worried that the anti-depressant effect of Ketamine has the tendency to deteriorate in a few days’ time. The patients may need some repetition regarding the intake of the drug to manage their depression.
Prozac (fluoxetine), on the other hand, has been strong in the market as a widely used treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, bulimia nervosa and major depressive disorder.
In the 1980’s, Prozac was introduced as a new classification of drugs targeting the serotonin to cure depression.
Esketamine, which is another classification of the drug Ketamine, is already in its final stage of clinical testing to be considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).