Leading researchers are claiming that ketamine can help tackle depression (Picture: REX Features)
Leading researchers have claimed that Ketamine can have a ‘truly remarkable’ effect on people with depression, after a new extensive study showed positive results among elderly patients.
Colleen Loo, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, led the world’s first ever randomised control trial into the effect of the drug on people over 60 living with treatment-resistant depression.
Of the 16 people participating in the study, 11 reported a marked improvement in their condition while they were treated with the drug – while 43 percent of the subjects said they had no significant symptoms of depression after being treated with ketamine for six months.
Now, Professor Loo has hailed the trial for ‘truly remarkable results’ in treating people living with depression.
‘It is truly remarkable the way ketamine can work’, she told The Independent.
‘Other people have also found you get a rapid and powerful effect after a single dose of ketamine. Some people mistakenly think we are inducing a temporary, drug-induced euphoria and people are ‘out of it’, which is why they’re not depressed.
‘But the effects take place in the first hour, and they’re not euphoric at all. In fact, all of our research participants disliked them. They considered them adverse effects.
‘The antidepressant effect kicks in a few hours later and are maximised about 20 hours later, when you’re fully alert and in your usual state of mind.’
Despite the success, however, Professor Loo warns that it is too early to ‘jump into clinical practice’.
She added: ‘These results are a promising early piece of the puzzle, but the risks of ketamine use are still not wholly understood. Future studies with greater sample sizes are needed to formally assess ketamine’s side effects, such as its impact on liver function.’