The study shows that 40% of patients treated with ketamine had symptoms of depression disappear

Although its use as an antidepressant may be controversial among health experts and regulators, ketamine, an anesthetic drug, has shown great effect as an antidepressant in recent trials, even curing the disease in some.

Researchers at MindPeace Clinics, a ketamine therapy clinic in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, found that more than 70 percent of patients who used the drug had improvements in their mood, with 40 percent who reported no symptoms of depression after 10 routine infusions. of the drug

The study adds to growing evidence that ketamine, along with other psychedelic drugs, could be effective treatments for mental health conditions such as depression. Although some clinics use the drug off-label, which is legal but not recommended, some experts say the depression relief provided by ketamine is quick and brief, while typical antidepressants take longer to provide relief , but they are more durable once they do. .

This research team hopes that ketamine can help patients who don’t have much luck with antidepressants and also provide quick short-term relief for patients who are in a more severe mental state.

The researchers found that ketamine resolved depressive symptoms in 40% of trial participants and reduced them by 70% overall.

The researchers, who published their results Monday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, recruited 400 participants for the study.

Each member of the study had previously tried another form of medical treatment for their depression or suicidal ideation.

They were each given six infusions of 0.5 milligrams each in each 21-day period.

Participants then reported whether and how severely they still felt symptoms of depression.

After ten infusions of the drug, 72 percent of the participants had reported some kind of reduction in the severity of their depression. For 40 percent of patients, they no longer felt symptoms.

Researchers hope their drug could help cure what they describe as an ‘epidemic’ of mental health problems in the US

“It’s an epidemic and it’s been around forever,” Dr. Patrick Oliver, MindPeace’s medical director and lead author of the study, told the Washington Post.

“And we found a drug that literally costs pennies to make and is fixing these patients.”

Carl Montalbano, 67, was a member of the trial.  He said getting ketamine was an experience unlike anything else, even though it's not fun.  He said the drug has worked for him to treat his depression.  Pictured: Montalbano receives an infusion of ketamine at a clinic in Arlington, Virginia

Carl Montalbano, 67, was a member of the trial. He said getting ketamine was an experience unlike anything else, even though it’s not fun. He said the drug has worked for him to treat his depression. Pictured: Montalbano receives an infusion of ketamine at a clinic in Arlington, Virginia

However, there are some limitations to their findings. Each of these patients self-selected into the study, indicating that they may be more comfortable using these types of drugs than the average person.

There was also no control group, and the researchers did not track potential adverse events as a result of the infusions.

Drug use can also be troublesome. While all antidepressants have some type of side effects, ketamine is significantly stronger than others.

Carl Montalbano, 67, was part of the MindPeace study. He told the Post that the drug is a “shotgun approach” to antidepressants, saying other, more typical forms of treatment for the condition didn’t help.

Ketamine is best known for its provocation use as a party drug. It is considered a dissociative drug, causing users to feel detached from reality.

Montalbano reported that receiving the drug was unlike anything he had experienced before, describing swirls of red and blue colors as if he were looking at the “cosmos.”

“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t have to… It’s not fun. It’s therapeutic and it works,” he added.

Ketamine clinics are beginning to spring up across the country, with many unable to access or having no luck with typical antidepressants turning to alternative treatment.

Ketamine has been approved by regulators as an anesthetic, but experts are calling for more official research into its value as a drug to treat depression.  As of now, it is used off-label to treat mental health issues

Ketamine has been approved by regulators as an anesthetic, but experts are calling for more official research into its value as a drug to treat depression. As of now, it is used off-label to treat mental health issues

The drug is approved as an anesthetic, but there is a huge gap in research on whether or not it is actually effective for mental health symptoms.

“For many years, several key leaders in the field have called for a registry to collect data on the use of ketamine for mood disorders,” wrote Dr. Samuel Wilkinson, an expert in psychiatry at the Yale University, in a response to the findings.

“Unfortunately, no funding or accreditation body has stepped forward to take up this challenge.

‘In short, reports like that of Oliver and his colleagues are the best. The field would benefit from additional reports from similar groups and clinics that provide racemic ketamine clinically.

Ketamine is not the only psychedelic drug that is also being tested as a mental health treatment.

According to recent studies, psilocybin, from “magic mushrooms,” as they are often called, has been found to be able to treat major depression.

The drug has also shown promise in helping alcoholics kick their dangerous habit.

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