Ketamine effective in depression, Aussie researchers discover

The anaesthetic, which is also used recreationally under the street name ‘Special K’ has been trialled in 19 severely depressed patients over the last three years under the supervision of a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales. 

The most recent pilot study trialled the drug in four patients who received up to four gradually increasing intravenous doses, between 0.1 and 0.4mg/kg, along with a single double-blinded placebo injection. 

All four patients had suffered with depression for between five and 13 years, had previously failed to show a response to up to 11 different antidepressant medications, and three had also undergone electroconvulsive therapy. Subjects were allowed to remain on stable doses of prescribed psychotropic medications for the management of symptoms associated with depression such as insomnia and anxiety.

Three of the four participants had an almost immediate antidepressant response