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New Insight Into How Ketamine Works in Depression

Ketamine exerts an initial antidepressant effect by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), and the ketamine metabolite hydroxynorketamine (HNK) may extend the duration of the effect. The findings could lead to the development of safer alternatives.

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How Untreated Depression Contributes to the Opioid Epidemic

It can sometimes seem strange how so much of the country got hooked on opioids within just a few years. Deaths from prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the CDC. But pain doesn’t seem to be the only culprit: About one-third of Americans have chronic pain, but not all of them take prescription painkillers for it. Of those who do take prescription opioids, not all become addicted.

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Population scale data reveals the antidepressant effects of ketamine and other therapeutics approved for non-psychiatric indications

Current therapeutic approaches to depression fail for millions of patients due to lag in clinical response and non-adherence. Here we provide new support for the antidepressant effect of an anesthetic drug, ketamine, by Inverse-Frequency Analysis of eight million reports from the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System. The results of the examination of population scale data revealed that patients who received ketamine had significantly lower frequency of reports of depression than patients who took any other combination of drugs for pain. The analysis also revealed that patients who took ketamine had significantly lower frequency of reports of pain and opioid induced side effects, implying ketamine’s potential to act as a beneficial adjunct agent in pain management pharmacotherapy. Further, the Inverse-Frequency Analysis methodology provides robust statistical support for the antidepressant action of other currently approved therapeutics including diclofenac and minocycline.

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Use and Safety of Ketamine: In Plain Terms

Not surprisingly, a number of you have voiced your concern about our intention to conduct a study in which ketamine, a drug known to be abused recreationally and commonly used by veterinarians, will be trialed in children.

However, the current use, safety and benefits of ketamine are much greater than you might suspect.

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Onetime party drug hailed as miracle for treating severe depression

It was November 2012 when Dennis Hartman, a Seattle business executive, managed to pull himself out of bed, force himself to shower for the first time in days and board a plane that would carry him across the country to a clinical trial at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda.

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Current Status of Ketamine and Related Therapies for Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite a plethora of established treatments, less than one-third of individuals with MDD achieve stable remission of symptoms. Given limited efficacy and significant lag time to onset of therapeutic action among conventional antidepressants, interest has shifted to treatments that act outside of the monoamine neurotransmitter systems (e.g., serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine).

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How does ketamine elicit a rapid antidepressant response?

A single sub-psychotomimetic dose of ketamine, an ionotropic glutamatergic n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, produces a fast-acting antidepressant response in patients suffering from major depressive disorder. Depressed patients report alleviation of core symptoms within two hours of a single low-dose intravenous infusion of ketamine with effects lasting up to two weeks. The rapidity of ketamine action implies that major symptoms of depression can be alleviated without substantial structural plasticity or circuit rewiring. Therefore, the ability of ketamine to exert a rapid effect provides a unique opportunity to elucidate the types of acute synaptic plasticity changes that can be recruited to counter depression symptoms.

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Ketamine: The Future of Depression Treatment?

Every year, 13 million to 14 million Americans have major depression. Of those who seek treatment, 30% to 40% will not get better or fully recover with standard antidepressants.

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Antidepressant effects of ketamine: mechanisms underlying fast-acting novel antidepressants

Newer antidepressants are needed for the many individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) that do not respond adequately to treatment and because of a delay of weeks before the emergence of therapeutic effects. Recent evidence from clinical trials shows that the NMDA antagonist ketamine is a revolutionary novel antidepressant because it acts rapidly and is effective for treatment-resistant patients.

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