April 7, 2015 – Ketamine


Anchor lead:  Should use of a drug called ketamine be limited internationally? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Ketamine is a drug often used for anesthesia, in the US mostly by veterinarians but internationally, especially in low resource settings, for surgery on people.  Now China has petitioned the UN to place restrictions on ketamine, presumably because of abuse.  Mike Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, says there is another side to ketamine.

Klag: Ketamine has received a lot of attention recently because it appears to be effective in small studies in people with treatment resistant depression, a very difficult situation.  This drug, in limited clinical use, has shown an effect within hours.  It also appears to reduce suicidal ideation, we don’t really have a drug that’s good at reducing suicidal ideation.  We don’t know what the dose is, what the mechanisms are so at the same time that we’re seeing this from China we’re seeing reports from the US and elsewhere suggesting that we should do more research on this drug and it may have expanded uses.  :33

So you’ll likely be hearing more about ketamine.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.