For severely depressed patients, there seems to be a multitude of outlets of remedies that may seem to be the answer to suppressing depression. However, these therapies and outlets may not help those who suffer from severe depression. But in light of a new discovery, there seems to be a new potential treatment that’s ironically been popularized as a club drug known as “Special K”. Ketamine, labeled as “Special K”, has first surfaced within the clubbing scene as a recreational drug that holds powerful hallucinogenic properties. Dr. Terrence Early of Santa Barbara, California believes that ketamine may hold the potential to caring for severely depressed patients who are left hopeless from their previous treatment option trials.
Some patients with severe depression may also be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. This essentially means that they have tried at least two conventional antidepressant with no avail. In an experiment, treatment-resistant patients were separated into two groups. One group was administered doses of ketamine through an IV for about 40 minutes while the later group was administered midazolam through an IV. The results were dumbfounding; within a mere 24 hours, 63.8% of the patients administered ketamine experienced improvements while the midazolam administered group only found that 28% experienced improvements. The results continued to show merit after a week when almost half of the patients administered ketamine began to experience further improvements from just a single dose.
As do most experiments, there were more trials carried out, most of which concluded the same results. In addition to these results, it was insinuated that the general conclusion from these experiments were that ketamine provided quick improvements and benefits. There are further tests being run to discern whether ketamine is safe to administer despite its promising results.
Additionally, experts theorize the reason behind why ketamine may be the cure to severe depression. It is possible that ketamine act on neutrotransmitter glutamate which target serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Researchers suspect that from this, it stimulates new neural connections thus repairing circuitry that have been previously damaged by depression. In comparison to conventional antidepressants, which can take up to six weeks to hold or prove ineffective, ketamine has shown to provide patients mood changes within four hours. However, it should be noted that these theories and test conducted are based off a small pool of patients, therefore, it is hard to see how reliable these results are.
Clinicians are able to prescribe ketamine due to it being approved as a anesthetic, or as an “off-label” use. It should be noted that this drug has it’s dangers as well. When recreationally used at high doses, abusers can fall into what’s called a “K-hole”. This means that they are on the verge of becoming unconscious. It is also possible to get addicted as well as your body becoming more tolerable of the drug. Although when ketamine is used for medical use in smaller doses, patients and abusers are cautioned to be mindful of the dangers of overdosing on ketamine. Further studies and tests are still running on the effects of ketamine with some doctors speculating that they will not know for sure until 3-5 years down the line.
For more information, or to schedule an evaluation to see if ketamine infusion therapy is right for you, please call (801) 369-8989 or contact us via email.