Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ketamine: Out of the clubs and into mainstream medicine

Are you a fan of the TV show House? If so, we're both eagerly awaiting the first show of the new season this coming Tuesday. House requested a shot of Ketamine on his way into surgery during last season's finale, seeking relief from his chronic pain and narcotic addiction. So what's the scoop on Ketamine?

This drug was originally developed as a veterinary anesthetic and subsequently gained favor as a 'club drug' similar to PCP or phencyclidine. Its use for chronic pain-- including cancer-related pain unresponsive to standard narcotic analgesics --is under investigation. Participants in one study experienced pain relief lasting up to 8 weeks after a 3-5 day infusion of the drug.

A study in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found that a single injection of Ketamine in a group of depressed volunteers improved mood in 12 out of 17 of them. Whereas antidepressants such as Prozac can take up to 2 months to kick in, Ketamine's effects were noted in just 2 hours! This finding, therefore, has generated excitement in the possibility of a fast-acting therapy to alleviate depression and suicide risk during the crucial first days of standard therapy.

Ketamine targets receptors in the brain that respond to an excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamine. This represents a new approach to alleviating depression prompting one psychopharmacologist to declare "The glutamate stoary as it has emerged is very promising."

1 comment:

rev said...

sweet ketamine! after taking prozac for several months and feeling nothing but anxiety I can truly say that ketamine is the ├╝ber-antideppresant.