Dec 16, 2018 | Updated: 09:51 PM EST

Ketamine Illegal Party Drug Shows Promise As Depression Aid

Apr 12, 2017 05:36 PM EDT

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Ketamine was infamous for its usage as an illegal party drug, but doctors agree it should be made available for the treatment of depression. The drug was licensed as an anesthetic but a trial conducted since 2011 and led by Dr. Rupert McShane showed it can be used to treat thousands of patients with depression who did not respond to any other treatments before. McShane, however, suggested the strict monitoring through a national registry, of those using the drugs, to avoid misuse.

Up to 101 people who previously failed to respond to other depression treatments took part in the trial, and 42 of them positively responded to ketamine, according to BBC. McShane said it should be used by doctors to treat depression. The treatment should not be done in private clinics, but patients should be treated in specialist centers where abuses can easily be tracked.

Ketamine is, however, not a miracle drug and it should not be used for self-medication. When monitored properly, there is a small chance it would lead to abuse since the dosage used for the depression treatment was much lesser than the dosage used by those who use it as a party drug. A trial participant who was identified only as Louise said she did not feel hooked on the medication.

In 1999, Ketamine was placed in the United States list of controlled substances, according to Drugs. While it is officially used as a dissociative anesthetic, there are those who inject or snort it in large doses. The use of this drug can cause amnesia, nausea, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and even hallucinations. This potential depression treatment was also known as a date-rape drug because of its dreamlike effect on the user.

Up to 14 million people in the United States experience depression every year. Not all of those who seek treatment fully recover with the use of common antidepressant medications like Prozac, Lexapro, and Paxil. The result of the trial shows that ketamine could provide the much-needed treatment for these patients who are in danger of drug abuse using the traditional medications.

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