Doctors and researchers are calling for ketamine to be available on the NHS after research has discovered that this party drug can be used as an effective treatment for people suffering with depression.
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Experts claim that the horse tranquiliser (and everyone’s favourite after-party substance) is an “innovative” option for dealing with mental health issues and that the use of this drug “does not violate ethical practices”.
The call for ketamine as a treatment for depression comes from a recently published study, led by Oxford University and co-authored by professor David Nutt. For six years a group of researchers have been using ket to treat over 100 people whose depression has otherwise been untreatable. The team discovered that, following a series of carefully administered IV infusions of the substance, around 40% of the patients showed clear improvement, while 70% showed some level of improvement.
Dr Rupert McShane, a consultant psychiatrist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:
I have seen ketamine work where nothing has helped before.
But ketamine is a drug not a miracle, and maintaining the benefit is a challenge. So far, the only way we have found to maintain the benefit is repeated dosing.
We think that patients’ treatment should be in specialist centres and formally tracked in national or international registries.
This will help us to pick up any safety or abuse problems with longer term use, and narrow down what dose, frequency, route and duration of treatment works best.
Although this study has been met with caution by other scientists and medical professionals, who say that more research is required before ketamine should be recommended as treatment, it does appear that this study has highlighted some clear and significant findings into the benefits of ketamine use on depression sufferers. Could ketamine be the mental health cure of the future? It’s likely – but there’s still a long way to go until we find out.
For more on the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression, click HERE.
If you’ve been affected by these issues and live in the US, contact the National Drug Helpline:
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