The world’s first-ever Ketamine trial has suggested the drug is “incredibly effective” as an antidepressant in elderly patients — when delivered in repeated, intravenous doses.

Ketamine aka “K”

Ketamine’s most common function as dissociative anesthetic is typically administered to animals, but when used as its street name “K” in the party scene it takes on an entirely different role.

While “wonky” feelings, mild euphoria, inhibited motor functions, and even slight hallucinations are desired when used recreationally in dance culture, the anti-depressive properties that kick in later can be truly beneficial — as found by the study at hand.

Ketamine as Antidepressant

Australian researchers from UNSW Sydney and the Black Dog Institute created a randomized control trial (RCT) assessing the efficacy and safety of Ketamine as a depression treatment.

Sixteen participants age 60+ were started out on low doses of the drug via injection, which increased over a period of five weeks depending on the individual’s receptiveness.

Ketamine was well-tolerated by participants, and received an overall response and remission rate of 68.8 percent for the patients receiving ketamine treatment.

(Clearly, moderation is key, because a k-hole has never solved anything.)

“Wonder Drug”

A small U.S. study in 2003 found that “Ketamine could be incredibly effective in treating depression. By incredibly effective I mean that people could go very rapidly from severely depressed to being completely well in one day — unlike any other treatment we have,” Program leader Professor Colleen Loo told ABC News.

“Some people think, ‘Oh maybe it was just a drug induced high’ – and it wasn’t. You had the woozy effects in the first hour or so, but the anti-depressant kicked in later.”

While there is much research to be done, Professor Loo couldn’t help but giving K another name — “Wonder Drug.” More info on the study can be found here.

Full study: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Titrated Subcutaneous Ketamine in Older Patients with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Source: Black Dog Institute | Photo: Huw Golledge/flickr