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Article Date: 20 Aug 2010 – 9:00 PDT

“It’s like a magic drug”, said the lead researcher of a team from Yale University in the US whose latest study suggests that ketamine, a drug normally used as an anasthetic, could be reformulated as an anti-depressant that takes effect in hours rather than the usual weeks and months of most available medications.

You can read how the researchers discovered this effect in a study they performed on rats which was published online on 20 August in the journal Science.

Senior author Dr Ronald Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale, told the media that just one dose of the drug can work rapidly and lasts for seven to ten days.

This is the same ketamine that is used as a recreational drug, called “Special K”, or “K”.

He and his team found that the drug not only improved the rats’ depression-like behaviors, it also restored connections between neurons or brain cells that had been damaged by chronic stress. They called this “synaptogenesis”.

They hope their findings will help to speed up the development of a safe and easy to administer version of ketamine, which has already proved to be effective in severely depressed patients, they said.

About ten years ago, scientists at Connecticut Mental Health Center found that in lower doses, ketamine, normally used as a general anasthetic for children, appeared to relieve patients with depression.

Since then, other studies have shown that over two thirds of patients who don’t respond to all other types of anti-depressants improved hours after receiving ketamine, said Duman.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/198483.php



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