Ketamine Therapy Shows Promising Results in Depression Treatment: A Breakthrough Alternative

Ketamine Therapy Shows Promising Results in Depression Treatment: A Breakthrough Alternative

Depression is becoming an epidemic, it’s one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. And for many people, antidepressants just don’t seem to work. Research indicates that ketamine therapy may provide some much-needed relief for people suffering from depression. This new treatment shows a great deal of promise and could be a real breakthrough in depression treatment.

This breakthrough treatment for depression is showing fantastic promise!

Ketamine is a drug that has been used as both anesthetics and later extended to other therapeutic applications such as pain relief or addiction treatment. At the same time, its abuse in people reaches out for more concern about possible psychotropic effects.

In recent years we’ve seen many drugs come onto our radar screens either because they were being abused by those looking forward rather than rearview mirrors catching up.

On March 5, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first new medication for major depression in decades. The drug is a nasal spray called esketamine, derived from ketamine. This anesthetic has made waves for its surprising antidepressant effect.

The FDA expedited the approval process for esketamine so that it could be made available more quickly. In one study, 70% of patients with treatment-resistant depression who were started on an oral antidepressant and intranasal eskhatme improved after just two weeks when they received both medications together compared to less than half in group receiving Placebo (called “placebo”).

How do antidepressants work?

Ketamine has been used to treat depression since the 1990s, with Dr. Krystal and his colleagues at Yale School of Medicine leading research into this drug’s properties during that time period (as is still mostly true today). At first thought – because there were no known causes for why people became sad or anxious-it seemed like an impossible puzzle requiring all sorts solutions until someone realized what they had right under their nose: It could be due simply come down some issues around nutrition!

One popular theory was the serotonin hypothesis, which asserted that people with depression had low serotonin levels. This hypothesis came about by accident—certain drugs given to treat other diseases like high blood pressure and tuberculosis seemed to affect people’s moods drastically. Those that lowered serotonin levels caused depression-like symptoms; others that raised serotonin levels created euphoric-like feelings in depressed patients. This discovery ushered in a new class of drugs meant to treat depression, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The first one developed for the mass market was Prozac.

Seeing hope in an experimental therapy (SOURCE)

Rory Basurto knows the date of his first ketamine treatment by heaOctober 17. 17, 2017. For more than a decade, he had suffered from devastating depression and thick anxiety that felt “like walking around with a wet blanket on all the time.” The 36-year-old can rattle off a laundry list of treatments he’s tried: Paxil, Lexapro, Zoloft, Ritalin, klonopin, neurofeedback, psychotherapy.

“It helped until it didn’t. Until I completely broke down,” said Basurto, who lives in Encinitas, Calif. That was last fall, when he had to quit his job working with a family business and attempted suicide.

Basurto, like many patients contending with major depression, needed another option. Many don’t respond to conventional antidepressants, such as the SSRIs. And for others, the drugs just don’t work quickly enough, taking weeks to kick in.

“Patients are getting more and more frustrated because the help that they’re getting failed them,” said Dr. Lori Calabrese, a psychiatrist who treats patients with ketamine at her clinic in South Windsor, Conn.

Ketamine is available as a mixture of (R)- and (S)-enantiomers. Studies in depression have mainly focused on this racemic mixture, but it has been hypothesized that the (S)-enantiomer may have greater efficacy due to its higher affinity for NMDA receptors.

An intranasal formulation (esketamine) is being trialled in treatment-resistant depression (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02782104). However, in contrast to this hypothesis, preclinical work from Fukomoto and colleagues suggested that the (R)-enantiomer may be more efficacious as an antidepressant, with a longer duration of action.

Depression is a widespread epidemic that touches many people’s lives. It can be incredibly difficult to treat, but there may be hope on the horizon in the form of ketamine treatments. These treatments are still experimental, but they work faster than traditional antidepressants and have shown promise in clinical trials. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact us for help.

We may be able to connect you with a therapist who offers ketamine treatment or another innovative approach to fighting this debilitating condition.

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