Party Drug/Cat Tranquilizer Ketamine Is a Great Antidepressant
Long time party-drug, part-time animal tranquilizer Ketamine is now being researched for its possible therapeutic benefits for treating depression.This article originally appeared on Motherboard
Ketamine first attracted fans as a party drug, but it’s quickly gaining clout as an ideal treatment for depression.
A new study, published in the journal Science Signaling, reveals the much discussed key to ketamine’s antidepressant powers. Researchers from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Guangzhou Medical University in China, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that ketamine alters the presynaptic side of neurons or nerve cells, where the neurotransmitters are, in order to receive messages from another neuron.
This mechanism alters the messages from one neuron to another, explained researcher Ke Zhang. "In our case, ketamine improved this 'message communication' between neurons," he told Motherboard. "The enhancement of neural activity benefits altering the depressing status of the patients."
Clinical trials have shown that a single dose of ketamine (.5 to 10 milligrams/kilogram) significantly curbed depressive symptoms within 72 hours, corresponding author Xiang Cai told Motherboard. The results were measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scales, a standard evaluation for depression.
"Compared with traditional antidepressants, the antidepressive-like actions of ketamine are persistent and fast," Cai said.