Butterfly Cauldron

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This is fricking awesome

Having survived life-long depression and suicidal episodes, I'm always looking out for new therapies and treatments that may be of use to me. I'm on a good drug right now (Cymbalta, yay!) but this sounds awesome.

People with treatment-resistant depression experienced relief in as little as two hours after a single shot of a drug typically used in higher doses as an anesthetic, according to a study published Monday.

The experimental treatment could open the way for drastic changes in the way mental-health professionals treat clinical depression, a debilitating illness that affects nearly 15 million people each year in this country.

It's a small study, and the drug -- ketamine -- isn't right for longterm use, but it's suggestive of a new line of research for new drugs. Effects in two fucking hours? Damn. Just...damn. That's bloody amazing. Even more amazing, the study found that one shot can work for up to a week. Almost no build up time and long-term action. That's just incredible. Plus? It works for almost everyone.

The patients in the study were randomly assigned to either get one active dose of ketamine or a placebo. Depression improved within one day in 71 percent of the patients who got the active drug, and 29 percent became nearly symptom-free within that first day. More than a third of the ketamine patients still showed improvement a week after they got the shot.

Seventy-one percent. That's just....depression drugs don't have those kind of numbers. Most anti-depressants take weeks to build up to effectiveness and most patients have to play around with dosage and drugs to find a good one. I went through three to find this one and I generally respond really well to medication. The potential good this research can do is just astounding.

So many people suffer from depression. So many people. If we could find a way to fix that...can you imagine the kind of change those people could make in the world?

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posted by Zan at 7:48 PM


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