January 30, 2018 – Ketamine Uses


Anchor lead: It is practical to use ketamine to manage depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The anesthetic agent ketamine is proving useful in treating depression, as well as alleviating suicidal thoughts when they occur, a recent study showed. Irving Reti, a depression expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Reti: This is an exciting new treatment from an old drug that is now being offered to patients around the country. There are certainly patients who benefit from ketamine, say once a month, but are also on conventional antidepressant medications who do well with that combination.  :18

Ketamine does have a downside for some.

Reti: Some patients develop psychotic symptoms with ketamine. That is certainly one concern with the repeated use of this medication, as often as two to three times a week as it is sometimes administered.  :12

Reti advocates for more research on the drug to identify how it works, and perhaps develop drugs that mimic that mechanism of action without ketamine’s side effects. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.