Its a commonly used veterinary tranquilizer/anesthetic and a recreational drug, but I hadn’t heard this before:
Researchers at the Neuro Psychiatric Center next to Ben Taub General Hospital are testing one infusion of ketamine for its short-term effects in treating depression.
If the study’s results are successful, a second study will administer ketamine three times a week to patients to test the drug’s long-term effects….Anti-depressants like Prozac or Celexa usually take at least a few weeks to start working. During that time, patients are more susceptible to suicide.
“Sometimes what happens is that a person’s energy improves before their mood improves. So if you still feel horribly depressed and hopeless, but have a return of your energy, your risk of being suicidal increases,” said Dr. Ken Robbins, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“If it pans out that a shot of ketamine will temporarily pull someone out of their depression, that would still be incredibly helpful. If someone is feeling horrible to the point where you’re concerned they’re suicidal, this could fill the time lapse that regular anti-depressants take to kick in,” Robbins said.
Now that’s really neat. Anti-depressant drugs are pretty common, so I think we’ve all seen people who have started treatment, and it does take time for the drugs to fully “Kick in”, and that time period is a HIGH risk for suicide or other dangerous behavior. Also if you’ve ever seen somebody go cold turkey off the stuff its also pretty hairy.
The Ketamine could bump somebody out of severe depression for the short term, while the standard drugs work to control the long term.
I’m really curious about the mechanics of this reaction, as Ketamine is a Dissociative drug. I wonder if the disassociation is something that pops the depressed person “out of their head” or is it a paradoxical reaction, as people in severe depression are pretty dissociative, or is it simply another neuro pathway that is being worked.
Its as intriguing to me as treating ADD and ADHD with stimulants when sedatives would seem to make more sense for somebody with such high energy.