If you’ve heard of ketamine, it’s probably for its history of abuse as a club drug. But it could also be one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating severe depression in years.
When people hear “PTSD”, they generally think of veterans of the military. However, PTSD is a diagnosis, which relates to someone who may have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is a debilitating disorder that can negatively affect a person’s life in many ways. Ketamine, an anesthetic drug used daily in operating rooms and emergency departments across the globe, is proving to be an effective, low-risk treatment for many mood disorders, including OCD.
The anti-anxiety effects of ketamine are associated with specific brainwave changes, according to research published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
- Aggressive Thoughts
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Fear of Germs
- Mood Swings
- Neuropathic Pain
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Postpartum Depression
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Regional Pain
- Sleep Disorders
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Unipolar Depression
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FDA approval of Esketamine, a nasal spray. Esketamine (Spravato) FDA Approved
Building on years of preliminary research about ketamine’s potential benefits for treating depression, Johnson & Johnson developed a drug called esketamine, sold under the brand name Spravato. Courtesy of Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
With the FDA approval of Esketamine, a nasal spray version of ketamine, this more than 50-year-old treatment is getting new attention. However, scientists and journalists have studied and covered the effectiveness of ketamine for treating depression, anxiety, pain, and more for many years.
At Therapy Reset, we want to offer our patients as much information as possible. So, we keep this page updated with news and information about the benefits of ketamine.
Researchers here examined if ketamine, a rapidly acting antidepressant with antisuicidal properties, might offer relief to depressed patients presenting to emergency departments with acute suicidal ideation. They conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial randomizing 18 depressed individuals with acute suicidal ideation, who needed hospitalization, to either an intravenous ketamine 0.2 mg/kg group or a saline placebo group. Remission of suicidal ideation was achieved in 88% of the ketamine group vs 33% in the placebo group at 90 minutes after infusion. Outcomes suggest that for depressed, highly suicidal individuals presenting to the emergency department, ketamine is safe and effective for rapid reduction in suicidal ideation.
Source: https://www.mdlinx.com/, Jan 2020
Prefrontal Cortex Connectivity and BDNF Fluctuations May Play a Role in Ketamine Mechanism of Action
A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry demonstrated that ketamine infusion may be associated with acute and 24-hour changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. These ketamine-induced BDNF changes were linked to dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) alterations.
Source: www.psychiatryadvisor.com, Dec 2019
In 2019, a ketamine-based antidepressant raised hopes and concerns
For the first time in decades, a fundamentally new drug became available for people with severe depression. A nasal spray called Spravato offers a new option for treating people whose depression hasn’t responded to other approaches. But there are still big questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety (SN: 4/13/19, p. 8).
Source: ScienceNews, Dec 2019
A single infusion of ketamine, combined with outpatient behavioral therapy, helped alcohol-dependent individuals abstain from drinking for a few weeks after the treatment, researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York State Psychiatric Institute have found. The findings could lead to a new approach to the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Results of the trial were published online on December 2 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.”Our findings add to a growing body of evidence that a single dose of medications with powerful psychoactive effects, such as MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine, may have immediate and long-lasting effects on behavior, especially when integrated with psychotherapy,” says lead author Elias Dakwar, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Source: MedicalPress, Dec 2019
No Lasting Side Effects With Single Infusion of Low-Dose Ketamine
The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bethesda, Maryland, did identify several brief side effects of a single low dose, but most resolved completely within hours of ketamine infusion.
“The most common short-term side effect was feeling strange or loopy,” said NIMH researcher Elia Acevedo-Diaz, MD. “Most side effects peaked within an hour of ketamine administration and were gone within 2 hours. We did not see any serious, drug-related adverse events or increased ketamine cravings with a single administration.”
Source: www.psychcongress.com, Dec 2019
FSU researchers suggest ketamine could curb alcoholism
Ketamine for depression: Study investigates side effects
As interest in ketamine as a treatment for depression increases, so do concerns about side effects. A recent analysis takes a closer look and concludes that, at least in the short term, ketamine appears safe.
In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved esketamine — a ketamine-based nasal spray — for the treatment of depression. Studies have shownTrusted Source that small doses of ketamine can quickly relieve symptoms of depression. Even individuals who have not responded to other antidepressants report a beneficial effect within hours.
Source: Medical News Daily, Nov 2019
Comprehensive Assessment of Side Effects Associated with a Single Dose of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression
She Thought Antidepressants Would Treat Her Depression. They Didn’t
At 43 years old, Sara* has been dealing with depression for 2 decades. Over the years, she told Healthline she’s been prescribed many different medications.
None of them have ever worked for her.
“It’s been a roller coaster of medication adjustments and medication changes and medication combinations and medication attempts. It’s been a very long, hard road with medications,” she said.
Source: Healthline, Nov 2019
How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression
Most important for people to know, however, is that ketamine needs to be part of a more comprehensive treatment plan for depression. “Patients will call me up and say they don’t want any other medication or psychotherapy, they just want ketamine, and I have to explain to them that it is very unlikely that a single dose, or even several doses of ketamine alone, will cure their depression,” says Dr. Sanacora. Instead, he explains, “I tell them it may provide rapid benefits that can be sustained with comprehensive treatment plans that could include ongoing treatments with ketamine. Additionally, it appears to help facilitate the creation new neural pathways that can help them develop resiliency and protect against the return of the depression.”
Source: Yale Medicine, Mar 2019
President Trump said he’s ordered large quantities of stimulant to treat veteran suicide
In June, the Trump administration launched a veteran suicide prevention task force to address the issue. This week, when a reporter questioned Trump on his administration’s plans, the president brought up the unnamed stimulant.
It’s comparable to a similar drug for depression called ketamine, a historically common anesthetic and one that is currently used as a pediatric anesthetic. The main difference between esketamine and ketamine is that esketamine is more potent.
Source: The Post and Courier, Aug 2019
Ketamine Advocacy Network
The Ketamine Advocacy Network’s mission is to spread awareness of ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and to make this treatment available and affordable for all who need it.
Source: The Ketamine Advocacy Network
Ketamine: A New (And Faster) Path To Treating Depression
“Ketamine may also have the potential for treating other mental illnesses; for example, a preliminary clinical trial reported that ketamine reduced the severity of symptoms in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
What You Need To Know About Ketamine’s Effects
Doctors Welcome New Depression Drug, Cautiously
In Biggest Advance For Depression In Years, FDA Approves Novel Treatment For Hardest Cases
“The Food and Drug Administration approved a novel antidepressant late Tuesday for people with depression that does not respond to other treatments — the first in decades to work in a completely new way in the brain.”
Source: Washington Post, March 2019
Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions
Old Drug With Racy History Is A New Suicide Prevention Weapon
“Ketamine, with a long record as both a dependable surgery anesthetic and a notorious club and date-rape drug, has gained new life in northern Utah as a weapon against severe depression and thoughts of suicide.”
Source: Standard-Examiner, February 2019
Veteran Suffering From Ptsd Finds Help In Controversial ‘Special K’ Therapy
“Every day, 20 veterans reportedly take their lives due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, a party drug is proving to be a promising, yet controversial, alternative therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.”
Source: WCPO Cincinnati, November 2018
Intravenous Ketamine For Adolescents With Treatment-Resistant Depression: An Open-Label Study
Can We Stop Suicides?
Treating Depression With Ketamine
Ketamine Fosters New Hope In Medical Community As Antidepressant
“Researchers have looked past the negative connotations carried by ketamine — popularly known as a party drug — to help Wisconsin residents with severe depression battle the worst of symptoms.”
Source: The Badger Herald, October 2018
Ketamine For Suicidal Patients: A Chance For Meaningful Psychiatric Care In The Emergency Department
“Several recent small studies, some performed in the (emergency department) setting, have demonstrated that ketamine given to acutely suicidal patients can reliably decrease their suicidal ideation and depression.”
Ketamine Could Be ‘Game Changer’ For Depression
Ketamine Offers Lifeline For People With Severe Depression, Suicidal Thoughts
“Ketamine is a powerful medication used in hospitals primarily as an anesthetic, but recent scientific studies have shown significant promise with treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation.”
Source: CNN, August 2018
Ketamine Acts Fast To Treat Depression And Its Effects Last — But How?
“In contrast to most antidepressant medications, which can take several weeks to reduce depressive symptoms, ketamine — a commonly used veterinary anesthetic — can lift a person out of a deep depression within minutes of its administration, and its effects can last several weeks. Researchers have long-wondered how ketamine can both act quickly and be so long-lasting.”
Source: ScienceDaily, June 2018
Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial Of Titrated Subcutaneous Ketamine In Older Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression
“This first small randomized controlled trial of ketamine treatment in older treatment-resistant depressed patients found significant efficacy.”
New Hope For Depression
The Ketamine Breakthrough For Suicidal Children
How Ketamine May Help Treat Severe Depression
A Consensus Statement On The Use Of Ketamine In The Treatment Of Mood Disorders
“This review and consensus statement provides a general overview of the data on the use of ketamine for the treatment of mood disorders and highlights the limitations of the existing knowledge.”
Ketamine Depression Treatment ‘Should Be Rolled Out’
Ketamine For Severe Depression: ‘How Do You Not Offer This Drug To People?
“A number of small studies have found that ketamine can do something no other drug can: it often relieves even suicidal depression in a matter of hours in patients who have not responded to other treatments.”
Source: NPR, March 2017
Painting Ketamine in a Bad Light
Source: psychiatryadvisor.com, Dec 2018
Ketamine May Relieve Depression By Repairing Damaged Brain Circuits
“In mice, the drug appears to quickly improve the functioning of certain brain circuits involved in mood, an international team reported Thursday in the journal Science. Then, hours later, it begins to restore faulty connections between cells in these circuits.
The finding comes after the Food and Drug Administration in March approved Spravato, a nasal spray that is the first antidepressant based on ketamine.”
Source: NPR, April 2019
Ketamine Can Help Treat Depression
“Ketamine is an anesthetic. It may also be effective for treating depression. There was a study done on mice that showed that ketamine may be effective for treating depression. The study showed that ketamine helped improve the functioning of the brain circuits that controlled mood.”
In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved Spravato, which is a nasal spray that has ketamine in it. Ketamine has been used to treat millions of people who had depression. However, scientists do not know exactly how it works.”
Source: Medical Daily Times, April 2019
“Woman credits controversial depression treatment with saving her life”
“A nearly immediate treatment for severe, life-threatening depression is being touted by doctors and patients as a miracle drug, a life-saving measure for those who struggle with persistent thoughts of suicide.”
Source: Fox 6 Now, April 2019
Efficacy of Ketamine in Bipolar Depression: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Researchers Are Unraveling How Ketamine Works as an Antidepressant in the Brain
Ketamine is making headlines left and right, and for good reason. The drug, once popular as both an anesthetic and among party-goers, has recently gained traction as a treatment for depression. In fact, the FDA approved the first ketamine antidepressant just a few weeks ago.
Source: Discover Magazine, April 2019
Sustained rescue of prefrontal circuit dysfunction by antidepressant-induced spine formation
A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the action of antidepressants is urgently needed. Moda-Sava et al. explored a possible mode of action for the drug ketamine, which has recently been shown to help patients recover from depression (see the Perspective by Beyeler). Ketamine rescued behavior in mice that was associated with depression-like phenotypes by selectively reversing stress-induced spine loss and restoring coordinated multicellular ensemble activity in prefrontal microcircuits.
Source: ScienceMag.org, April 2019
J&J’s new ketamine-like depression drug Spravato off to ‘very, very strong start,’ company says
Up to 800 health centers have been approved to administer Johnson & Johnson’s new ketamine-like depression drug, which was cleared for sale last month, and patients are already using it, the company said Tuesday.
Source: CNBC.com, April 2019
Synergistic Therapeutics Obtains US Patent for Sublingual Ketamine Treatment for Depression
NAPLES, Fla., April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Synergistic Therapeutics LLC has recently announced issuance of a U.S. Patent for a sublingual antidepressant lozenge with Ketamine, used to treat anxiety, depression, major depressive disorder (MDD), and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Synergistic Therapeutics LLC, a Florida-based company formed in 2015, specializes in manufacturing and formulating topical and sublingual pharmaceutical solutions.
Source: www.prnewswire.com, April 2019
Behind the Buzz: How Ketamine Changes the Depressed Patient’s Brain
How ketamine can change the brain to fight depression
New research in mice, which the National Institutes of Health supported, shows how ketamine can alter brain circuits, quickly redressing depression-like symptoms.
Source: medicalnewstoday.com, April 2019
Ketamine Can Help Fight Depression, New Study Reveals
Recently, new research done in mice showed that ketamine, a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia for an extended period of time, can easily alter circuits present in our brain, which in turn can quickly redress symptoms linked to depression.
Of course, this has already been proven before, with studies showing that ketamine can help reduce the severe symptoms of early major depressive disorders, such as the increase of suicidal thoughts.
Source: www.medicaldaily.com, April 2019
People’s Pharmacy: Ketamine reversed years of depression
“I haven’t really laughed or enjoyed anything at all for more than 20 years. That’s my entire adult life. I just got a life gifted back to me, and all I feel now is hope and gratitude. Nothing has been even close to how ketamine has transformed me.”
Source: www.onlineathens.com, April 2019
Graedon: Ketamine reversed years of depression
“I just started getting ketamine IV infusions two weeks ago, after I heard about the Spravato nasal spray. After a few days, I’m a person again!
I haven’t really laughed or enjoyed anything at all for more than 20 years. That’s my entire adult life. I just got a life given back to me, and all I feel now is hope and gratitude. Nothing has been even close to how ketamine has transformed me.
I’ve been on more than a dozen antidepressants over that time, prescribed by half a dozen psychiatrists. Some things helped, but nothing like this. This isn’t a placebo. No way.”
Source: www.kenoshanews.com, April 2019
A new miracle drug for suicidal veterans?
TRUMP ENCOURAGES VA TO INVEST IN NEW KETAMINE-LIKE ANTI-DEPRESSANT
“US president Donald Trump has reportedly expressed his enthusiasm for the new fast-acting anti-depressant nasal spray derived from ketamine, known as esketamine, and has put the provocative drug on a fast track at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The new “miracle drug” was given FDA approval back in March after a joint FDA advisory committee voted 14-2 to approve the drug for release.
The drug esketamine provides “a quick molecular reset button for brains impaired by stress or depression.” Initially developed as an intravenous drug, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has developed a nasal solution called Spravato that has the same effect. The various analysis of the drug estimate that Spravato could earn $600 million for the company by 2022.”
Source: www.mixmag.net, June 2019