The anesthetic drug ketamine has a reputation as an illicit party drug due to its hallucinogenic effects. However, research now shows that ketamine has rapid antidepressant effects and could be effective for those who aren’t helped by standard treatments for major depression. In an optimized study design, intravenous ketamine improved depression severity in 64% of treatment-resistant patients 24 hours after a single dose. As major depressive disorder is among the most disabling illnesses worldwide, and a substantial proportion of patients do not achieve a clinically meaningful benefit despite multiple antidepressant trials and augmentation strategies, this finding has the potential to revolutionize treatment.
Read the full study here.