The illegal party drug, ketamine has been dubbed by experts as an “exciting” and “dramatic” new treatment for depression, following a trial conducted in the UK.
A team at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust gave 28 people with long-term depression low doses of the drug on up to six occasions.
Whilst eight showed improvements in reported levels of depression, four of them improved so much they were no longer classed as depressed. In some cases, patients showed good responses within six hours of the first infusion of ketamine.
Lead researcher Dr Rupert McShane said:
“It really is dramatic for some people, it’s the sort of thing really that makes it worth doing psychiatry, it’s a really wonderful thing to see.
“[The patients] say ‘ah this is how I used to think’ and the relatives say ‘we’ve got x back’.”
According to experts, these findings have opened up a whole new avenue of research, and certainly it seems there is some hope on the horizon for the one-in-10 of us who will experience depression at some stage.
Although antidepressants, such as prozac, and behavioural therapies have been shown effective in treating depression, a number of sufferers will find their condition is unresponsive to conventional treatments.
The Home Office is currently reclassifying ketamine in the UK to be a class B drug, although it is already used in medicine for the treatment of back pain and as an anaesthetic.