A recent study by the The National Institutes of Health into the effects of ketamine medication has found some promising results. The study researched how ketamine worked as a treatment for depression and found that it took only hours for symptoms of depression to ease instead of weeks.
These new findings could make managing depression easier for the millions of sufferers around the world.
Further research will now need to be carried out in order to develop a drug that has the same effects on depression as ketamine but with out the side effects caused by ketamine use.
The National Institute of Mental Health, a section of the National Institutes of Health have made finding and making available a fast acting anti-depressant high priority.
According to research when used ketamine blocks a brain cell receptor called NMDA. When NMDA is blocked another receptor called AMPA increases in activity. This is the main reason why ketamine has such a fast effect on the symptoms of depression.
The study on the effects of ketamine on depression has just been published in the Biological Psychiatry journal. The report was written by a number of researchers working on the project, Husseini K. Manji, MD, Guang Chen, MD, PhD, Carlos Zarate, MD.
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D said, “Our research is showing us how to develop medications that get at the biological roots of depression. This new finding is a major step toward learning how to improve treatment for the millions of Americans with this debilitating disorder; toward eliminating the weeks of suffering and uncertainty they have to endure while they wait for their medications to work,”
According to the press release it is thought that around 15 million adult Americans are suffering from some kind of depressive disorder. Current treatments can take weeks to help relieve the symptoms of depression. This long wait for effects can lead to the patients condition worsening and even increasing the risk of suicide.
NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, MD said “In any other illness of depression’s magnitude, patients aren’t expected to just accept that their treatments won’t start helping them for weeks or months. The value of our research on compounds like ketamine is that it tells us where to look for more precise targets for new kinds of medications that can close the gap. We’re making tremendous progress.”
Research is now being done using two different compounds other than ketamine to try and create the same receptor reactions. So far this research is showing positive results.
NIH press release