Depression affects about 13 million to 14 million Americans. There is a whole host of drugs that have been developed in the past to deal with it. However, one of them, the latest on the list, seems to be more promising than the rest. I’m talking about ketamine.
Ketamine has been used as a recreational drug in the past because it can induce hallucinations and also tranquilize the taker. It has even gained a notorious reputation on the streets as a “date rape” drug. Fortunately, it has begun to have a more positive reputation in recent times due to its increasingly extensive use as an off-label treatment for anxiety and treatment-resistant depression in establishments like Lone Star Infusion – Ketamine in Houston. Interestingly, many patients of depression are happy with the way it works.
How Ketamine Works
Ketamine acts very quickly when compared to more traditional drugs. Its effects are felt within hours while traditional drugs take several weeks for their effects to fit in. Ketamine works much faster, and the side effects are both mild and brief. Even though it hasn’t been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just yet, its results are quite promising.
The experts don’t fully understand how ketamine does what it does. What they do know is that it works very differently than the more common antidepressants, such as Effexor, Zoloft and Prozac. That may be part of the reason why it works well for patients who haven’t been responsive to the more traditional antidepressants. It’s because of its ability to make patients feel better faster than ketamine is so promising.
Ketamine is currently licensed for use as an anesthetic, which means it can be used legally as an off-label treatment. There are efforts, however, to find the most important ingredients in ketamine and synthesize them into drugs that can then be approved by the FDA for widespread use.
Ketamine Effectiveness on Suicidal Tendencies
The rapid working of ketamine can be especially life-saving for patients with depressive symptoms who find themselves suffering from suicidal ideation. Studies have shown that just taking one dose of ketamine is enough to reduce or even end suicidal thoughts in patients.
Most patients who take ketamine admit that their suicidal feelings disappeared, even if they might still suffer from depression in general. This is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the effectiveness of ketamine. The overall effects of the drug, however, vary from individual to individual. For some, the effects last several weeks before they need another dose. For others, it will only work for a few days.
In light of all this, lots of ketamine clinics have been established where ketamine infusions are provided to patients. Many patients of depression visit these clinics to reap the benefits of ketamine. For as long as ketamine remains an anesthetic and, therefore, a medical gray area, these clinics are the only hope for patients of depression.
One of the other gray areas for ketamine is the dosage amount. Large dosages of ketamine are known to cause hallucinations, such as when it is used as a recreational drug. There is also the danger of addiction and other side effects if the dosage isn’t measured. This is part of the reason why there is a race by pharmaceuticals to develop safe forms of the drug. For now, clinics generally use their judgment to measure the dosage they give to patients. Hopefully, we will soon have a more concrete system for the administration of ketamine.