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Home > Health Conditions > Depression > Antidepressants > Ketamine


News & Research:

  • I tried ketamine to treat my depression. It was terrifying - Washington Post, 2/12/23 - "My ears perked up in recent months when I began to hear the buzz about ketamine, the anesthetic and hallucinogenic drug that has found a new market as an antidepressant. Numerous credible studies have documented benefits, including that it is fast-acting, with patients sometimes showing improvement within a couple of days. And social and other media have featured doctors and patients describing it as “life changing,” with one user commenting that “I felt like a completely new person.” ... There is a risk that some patients will have extremely upsetting experiences during treatment [with] ketamine or psychedelics,” he said. “The experience of losing control of the form and content of their thought processes and the altered sensory experiences are, themselves, potentially traumatic experiences ... I was glad to hear that the negative feelings would probably dissipate — and they did over a period of six weeks — and I might even discover some delayed benefits to the treatment (still waiting). Perhaps this wasn’t the right time for me to try ketamine. But this was when I felt that I needed it most. And I — like so many others who suffer from debilitating depression — had been willing to grab for a much-talked about lifeline to help me through the storm. It was not, however, a lifesaver for me"
  • US Ketamine Poisonings Up 81% - Medscape, 1/19/23 - "Ketamine poisonings in the United States increased 81% between 2019 and 2021, according to a new analysis of calls to poison control centers ... Ketamine is by no means the most dangerous drug, but it could be dangerous if combined with drugs such as alcohol or if used in potentially hazardous situations — physically hazardous or socially hazardous ... Nearly 40% of callers reported intentional misuse or abuse of ketamine, while 19.7% involved a suspected suicide or suicide attempt. The ketamine exposure was unintended in 18.9% of cases, and 10.6% of calls involved an adverse drug reaction ... One third of cases involved co-use of other substances, most commonly benzodiazepines, opioids, or alcohol."
  • This doctor prescribes ketamine to thousands online. It’s all legal - Washington Post, 12/30/22 - "At least eight companies have begun providing ketamine by telehealth since the start of the pandemic. Between just Smith and two of the better known companies, Nue Life and Mindbloom, more than 10,000 patients have been treated at home. Virtual ketamine start-ups say they’re making the treatment vastly more accessible and improving patients’ lives. But many psychiatrists — including those who believe in ketamine’s promise for treating mental illness — worry that having patients taking it outside a doctor’s direct supervision is a step too far, too soon"
  • Confirmed: ECT Tops Ketamine for Major Depression - Medscape, 10/19/22 - "The overall pooled SMD for ECT, when compared with ketamine, was -0.69 (95% CI, -0.89 to -0.48), indicating that ECT was more efficacious than ketamine"
  • Elijah McClain died from ketamine injection, amended autopsy report says - Hill, 9/23/22 - "Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in police custody in 2019, died from a ketamine injection that was too large for his size, according to an amended autopsy report released on Friday"
  • Ketamine Promising for Rare Condition Linked to Autism - Medscape, 9/12/22 - "Using parent-report instruments to assess treatment effects, ketamine was associated with "nominally significant" improvement in a variety of domains, including social behavior, attention-deficit and hyperactivity, restricted and repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities"
  • Nothing seemed to treat their depression. Then they tried ketamine.- Washington Post, 9/12/22 - "In a year-long evaluation of more than 400 patients, including Anthony, at three MindPeace ketamine clinics in Virginia, researchers found a significant reduction in symptoms of depression, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on Monday. Largely consistent with past studies, 72 percent of patients saw improvement in their mood and 38 percent were symptom-free after 10 infusions ... While the study has limitations, the findings appear to illuminate how ketamine could offer more than just brief relief to people whose depression is resistant to other medications. For many of the clinic’s patients who spoke to The Post, the drug’s achievements have been life-changing. A retired hospital technician wondered about the career he could have had if he had been able to look people in the eyes during conversations, which he can now. A teenage boy cracked jokes with his mother. Anthony, who said he never goes for a walk, finally stepped out onto the street of his cul-de-sac." - Note: Gifted article. You don't have to be a WaPo subscriber to read it.
  • Who should try ketamine therapy? What does it feel like? - Washington Post, 9/12/22 - "Is ketamine safe? ... When used under supervised conditions and with careful patient screening, most practitioners consider therapeutic ketamine to be generally safe, with the caveat that all medications carry some risks. They note that ketamine remains a controlled substance regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is subject to strict safety controls because of its potential for abuse. Certain medications and conditions make ketamine therapy too risky for some patients, physicians say, so a full mental health and medical history is critical before embarking on such treatment ... The American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists & Practitioners advises people “not to drive, work, care for small children, or engage in stressful tasks for the rest of the day after a treatment.” ... An international group of experts on mood disorders last year published a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry synthesizing the current evidence on esketamine and intravenous ketamine for managing treatment-resistant depression. They noted that the drugs offer “opportunity and hope” to patients, but that there is an “urgent need to clarify the long-term efficacy of these agents as well as significant unanswered questions with respect to safety.” - Note: Gifted article. You don't have to be a WaPo subscriber to read it.
  • Ketamine for psychedelic mental health healing grows in popularity - 10News, 7/11/22 - "In 1999, ketamine became a schedule III non-narcotic substance with accepted medical uses. In 2019, the FDA approved a ketamine nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression, and now doctors and therapists use it regularly in a clinical setting ...And while the DEA restricts many other psychedelics, researchers have found great benefits in substances like MDMA and psilocybin, or magic mushrooms ... The Johns Hopkins psychedelic research unit found psilocybin is effective in easing anxiety and depression, even treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)"
  • Changing the channel: Study sheds new light on a promising antidepressant - Science Daily, 6/7/22 - "Even though depression is on the rise in developed countries, taking a heavy toll in terms of human suffering and economic loss, there have been no major breakthroughs in the treatment of depression since the 1987 approval of the most famous antidepressant of all time, Prozac. Meanwhile, existing drugs bring no relief to about a third of depressed patients. Even when the drugs do work, they take four to eight weeks to take effect, a delay that can prove fatal in suicidal cases. That's precisely the reason for much of the excitement over ketamine-based therapies: They make people feel better within hours. Their antidepressant action then lasts for days after the drug itself has cleared from the body. Evidently, it's the body's response to ketamine, rather than ketamine itself, that produces the desired effect, but the nature of this response has until now been unclear."
  • Ketamine Therapy Is Going Mainstream. Are We Ready? - New Yorker, 12/29/21 - "Ketamine is generally considered safe when used at sufficient intervals, but, when snorted or injected daily for long periods of time, it can cause increased tolerance, cravings, withdrawal, and permanent urinary-tract and kidney damage. It may also affect long- and short-term memory. “You do see these sort of unique personalities that are inclined to it,” Ben Medrano, of Field Trip Health, told me, of the risks of ketamine addiction. “Like, John C. Lilly was an astrophysicist who studied dolphins.” But Medrano was insistent that it’s only “a subset of people who are prone to it.” The government classifies ketamine’s abuse potential as moderate to low. Still, the risk of overuse has long been acknowledged in underground circles. In “The Essential Psychedelic Guide,” published in 1994, the researcher D. M. Turner writes, “A fairly large percentage of those who try Ketamine will consume it non-stop until their supply is exhausted. I’ve seen this in friends I’ve known for many years who are regular psychedelic users and have never before had problems controlling their drug consumption.” Turner died in a bathtub on New Year’s Eve in 1996, apparently having drowned after injecting himself with ketamine"