January 29, 2018 – Ketamine and Depression


Anchor lead: Can the drug ketamine help people with depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Ketamine is a drug that’s been around for quite a while, used for anesthesia. Now it’s proving its utility as a fast acting antidepressant, with the latest study showing it can reverse suicidal thinking very quickly. Irving Reti, a depression expert at Johns Hopkins, is cautiously optimistic.

Reti: Ketamine is a very interesting potential new antidepressant, that unlike our traditional conventional antidepressant medications has a rapid onset. And has the potential to reduce suicidality particularly in the emergency department. We still need to learn more about which patients respond best to ketamine. Something more needs to be learnt still about the durability of the response, and also the safety of repeated doses of ketamine.  :33

Ketamine requires intravenous infusion and does have what’s called ‘abuse potential,’ meaning that recreational use does take place, so many questions remain. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.