Trial finds that ketamine recovers from depression in half of patients even after drug no longer works

Studies suggest that ketamine may reduce depression in people with the most severe conditions.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Brigham Hospital in Boston recruited 403 people with major depression who had failed standard treatments, including drugs.

Of those who received intravenous ketamine, 55% reported symptom relief over the next six months.

For comparison, 41% of patients who underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the ‘gold standard’ for patients who ‘realign’ their links by sending electricity to the brain, reported improvement over the same time period. .

The study suggests that ketamine, like other psychedelic drugs, may be an effective treatment for depression, helping people by reshaping connections in the brain and stimulating the formation of new connections. further evidence of sexuality.

This comes after another paper revealed yesterday that seizures of ketamine have surged 350 percent in just five years, as ketamine surges in popularity in the Renaissance scene.

Researchers in Boston found ketamine to be as effective as the

Researchers in Boston found ketamine to be as effective as the “gold standard” treatment for severe depression. This image shows how ketamine looks like when sold on the street, but when administered in a doctor’s office it is administered as a liquid via an intravenous drip (stock image)

The graph above shows the research results.Ketamine was found to be at least as effective as ECT

The graph above shows the research results.Ketamine was found to be at least as effective as ECT

Statistics show that about 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 18 suffer from depression.

Patients are usually given drugs, such as SSRIs, as well as cognitive therapy to relieve symptoms. But if these fail, you may end up with the “gold standard” ECT therapy.

Developed in the late 1930s, however, the treatment is controversial because it can cause seizures and memory loss in patients.

Scientists are now investigating another treatment for depression: the “party drug” ketamine, administered via an IV. They also look at psychedelic substances such as psilocybin in magic mushrooms.

In the study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers recruited 403 people aged 45 between March 2017 and September 2022.

They had all been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD is a severe and persistent depression characterized by intense and prolonged sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest and enjoyment in most activities.

All of them also had “treatment-resistant” symptoms that could not be relieved by medication.

The group was split in half, half receiving ECT three times per week and the other half receiving intravenous ketamine twice per week.

Treatment was administered for 3 weeks, after which patients were monitored for symptoms monthly for 6 months.

Results showed that both treatments promoted depression relief and improved quality of life.

ECT also came with side effects such as memory loss and muscle problems.

However, in the case of ketamine, the only side effect recorded was a temporary dissociation during treatment, a sensation of out-of-body experience.

ECT has been the gold standard for treating the condition for decades, but it is controversial because of its side effects, according to Dr. Amit Anand, a psychiatrist who led the study.

“Ketamine was not inferior to ECT as a treatment for treatment-resistant major depression without psychosis,” Anand and colleagues wrote in their paper.

Dr. Murat Altinay, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic who also participated in the study, said: “As the number of patients who do not respond to conventional psychiatric treatments and who require more advanced care continues to grow, ECT continues to be the most effective,” he added. Treatment of treatment-resistant depression.

“This study shows that intravenous ketamine is not inferior to ECT in the treatment of nonpsychotic treatment-resistant depression and may be considered an appropriate alternative treatment for this condition.”

Experts not involved in the study hailed the results as “very interesting” and said they highlight potential new treatments for depressed patients.

Dr. Rupert McShane, a psychiatrist at the University of Oxford, UK, said, “Ketamine is at least as effective as ECT and causes less memory loss, in people whose depression was severe enough to warrant ECT.” It is clear from this test that

“What does this mean for practice? …These studies should be encouraging now.” [hospitals] We need to work on developing ECT clinics to offer both of these options. ”

Dr. James Stone, also a British psychiatrist, said the study was useful “because ECT is often the only option for people with severe depression who are unable to eat or drink and endanger their lives.” , very interesting,” he said.

“Intravenous ketamine may be a safer alternative.”

Limitations of the study included that patients were aware of whether they were receiving ketamine or ECT, which may have influenced the results.

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