Researchers have found that Ketamine or off-label Ketamine are the most important advances in treatment for those who suffer from major-depressive disorder, especially for those who don’t respond to tradition treatment such as, taking prescribed anti-depressants or electroconvulsive therapy (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 419). A crossover study of seven participants in 2000 drew attention to using Ketamine as an alternative treatment for major depressive disorder; six years later, researchers found from a study of seventeen patients that suffered from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder showed that 71% of participants said their depressive symptoms were reduced by over 50% within twenty-four hours of the ketamine administration (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 419). Researchers conducted a follow-up with patients of this study, the results showed that about a week later a third of the participants sustained the same response as the first administration of ketamine (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 419). Other studies have shown that there is correlation between the reduction of suicidal ideations in patients with major-depressive disorder and the proper usage of ketamine, but scientist are still doing research to prove if this correlation is accurate or not (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 419). In the recent years, research has begun to assess the potential of using ketamine as a form of pain management for those that suffer from Complex Region Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or cornice pain, instead of traditional medications, such as, opioids, anti-seizure medications, and anti-depressants or SSRIs (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 419). From the graph below, you can see the extreme reduction in depressive symptoms after a dose of administered ketamine (0.5mg/kg) over a span of time of injection to two weeks later, and the benefits of ketamine really show:
Although ketamine is beginning to show breakthrough medical advances there are still concerns with the use of ketamine and making it accessible to the general public. Theses concerns derive from the fear of ketamine being misused as a recreational drug and the long-term side effects caused by this abuse, thus making it more difficult for these studies to proceed because of the government and FDA regulations on recreational drugs (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 420). Autonomy is another concern for medical professionals, due to the fact, that doctors could either dose the patient with too much ketamine, causing complete disassociation, or, the doctor could administer too little and have not outcome at all (Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. (2017): 422). Although there are still concerns, the use of ketamine in patients that suffer from major-depressive disorder has shown to be extremely beneficial in reducing their depressive symptoms, and for others, ketamine has shown correlation in reducing a patient’s suicidal ideation.
By restricting the use of ketamine in clinical trials, the government and FDA are taking away a long-term treatment plan for those who suffer from major-depressive disorder, which has already been shown to be more effective than traditional anti-depressants. This long-term treatment could reduce the suicide rates in the United States, along with the use of opioids by using ketamine as a management for pain instead of morphine or oxycontin, thus reducing the opioid crisis, which arose almost three decades ago in America.
Singh, Morgan, Curran, Nutt, Schlag, and Mcshane. “Ketamine Treatment for Depression: Opportunities for Clinical Innovation and Ethical Foresight.” The Lancet Psychiatry 4.5 (2017): 419-26. Web <https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366%2817%2930102-5/fulltext>
Neuroskeptic. “Ketamine – Magic Antidepressant, or Expensive Illusion?” Discover Magazine. 07 Mar. 2012. 09 Apr. 2019 <http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2012/03/07/ketamine-magic-antidepressant-or-expensive-illusion/#.XK1iDetKjBJ>