A groundbreaking study by Oxford University has shown that the illegal party drug ketamine could be effective at treating patients suffering from depression.
UK doctors say the sedative, medically intended to sedate large animals, has proven to help people who are severely depressed.
The trial was conducted on 101 patients who struggled with conventional treatments since 2011. According to initial results, 42 of the patients saw a drastic improvement after taking the drug, according to The Lancet Psychiatrist.
Patients trialled were administered intravenous infusions of ketamine, followed by oral top-ups. “We’d like to see some more centers developing expertise and starting to use it,” Dr. McShane was quoted as saying in the Independent.
One patient described how the drug slowed down the, “constant, overwhelming bombardment of negative intrusive thoughts surging through your brain,” and allowed her to, “fight back.”
Another said that they did not feel addicted to ketamine after the treatment, claiming her standard antidepressants had more side-effects during withdrawal.
The doctors behind the research claim ketamine does not, “violate ethical principles,” in the treatment of depression, but warned that guidelines for good practice were required.
— RT (@RT_com) May 17, 2016
Tens of thousands of people in the UK who have not responded to depression treatment stand to benefit from ketamine according to Dr. McShane, who added that a national registry should be established for those prescribing the drug to monitor the results and avoid any misuse.
McShane said the only treatment with a higher success rate was electroconvulsive therapy, which involves small electrical currents being passed through a patient’s brain, triggering a seizure in an effort to change their brain chemistry.
The latest results back-up claims made last year by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that the drug’s antidepressant properties helped ease withdrawal symptoms in alcohol-dependent mice.