Another older post from November of last year. It's almost a year old but I still think the research findings on this subject were fascinating
I'm sure most people have seen the commercials for several antidepressants or even recognize many by brand name (Paxil, Xanax, Prozac). Some may even know them by how they works such as SSRIs. Antidepressants have several mechanisms by which they work and there is a plethora of different ones out there. Some newer ones have proven effective and aren't plagued by the side-effects of older ones such as sleep interruption or decreased libido.
So what's my point? Well for a number of reasons antidepressants can take up to several weeks before symptom alleviation is seen. But what if there was a medication which helped in a matter of hours instead of weeks? It would be pretty popular and in demand by those who suffer from depression. What if such a drug had been around for a long time? Horsepucky you say? Well, yes and no.
A recent study detailed the results of a trial in which participants were alleviated of depressive symptoms in a matter of just a couple of hours and the effects lasted up to a week. What is this miracle drug? How is it that it has existed for a while and no one has found these great results? Well, the drug is ketamine. Ketamine is usually seen in the role of an anesthetic.
The study is detailed in the latest issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Ketamine works as a N-methyl-D-aspartic acid antagonist. That is, it blocks NMDA receptors on post synaptic neurons from binding with neurotransmitters. The dose was through a very direct method - intravenously administered whereas most medications for depression are taken orally.
The problem however is that ketamine is notorious for it's side effects such as euphoria and hallucinations. Maybe it can lead to other innovations in medications used to treat depression.
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