Noting expert studies which suggest it may help people struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, the FDA has cleared the way for a variation on ketamine – an anesthetic known as Special K – for prescription.
Bloomberg has a longform feature which tells the story of Joe Wright, a 34 year old high school teacher who cycled through multiple anti-depressants in search of an escape from depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
As the rates of suicide have skyrocketed in the United States (up 30% over the last 17 years), the reluctance of drug researches to test anti-depressants on actually suicidal patients has been eclipsed by the sense of emergency.
Research into the potential therapeutic effects of Ketamine began in the mid-1990s. Within a few hours, patients (who were given a microdose compared to common street usage) reported a feeling of wellness. The instantaneous results surprised the researchers – most anti-depressants take weeks if not months to show any effects.
The first drug based on Ketamine, from Johnson & Johnson, may be approved as soon as March 2019 for “treatment-resistant depression” and for suicidal patients within the next two years, according to Bloomberg.
Read this the fascinating story of the breakthrough studies using variations of Ketamine here.