United States: According to new research for those veterans who are struggling with depression, Ketamine could be a viable remedy for it.
The study was released by the University of Michigan and represented the effects of Ketamine for the treatment of treatment-resistant or severe depression in veterans.
Significant relief symptoms were recorded in about half of the study participants five weeks after the start of ketamine treatment, the press release of Michigan Medicine said, reported Fox News.
About the study
This study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, focused on examining the records of 215 veterans undergoing ketamine therapy, which was done intravenously in the VA hospitals.
Apart from that, all the participants also had previous depression treatments but without any improvement.
Nearly 50 percent of patients had some kind of “meaningful drop” in their depression scores following six weeks from the infusions after analyzing the data by the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS).
Close to 25 percent of the group had their depression score cut in half within six weeks of treatment, while 15 percent fully recovered, which is a rather complicated achievement considering their complicated state.
The VA press secretary Terrence Hayes supported Ketamine therapy as a medical treatment for veterans and stated, “VA supports the evidence-based use of ketamine infusions for treatment-resistant depression and severe suicidal ideation,” reported by Fox News.
Dr. Justin Gerstner, psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Ellie Mental Health in Minnesota said, “Many veterans with these mental health conditions are treated with IV ketamine annually – both at VA facilities and by community providers.”
According to him, these findings on Ketamine are “great” because the VA’s number of people is “in need of new, innovative treatments for depression.”.
He further added, “This study shows that this helps some of the hardest-to-treat veterans with depression,” and as with more emerging psychedelic-assisted therapies, it is the one producing results “pretty quickly.”
It is not necessary for patients to take drugs daily if they use ketamine therapy, according to Gerstner. This is unlike other treatment options.
Gerstner said in his practice, he uses ketamine therapy, and Ketamine has proved to work for his clients with “great” results.
According to Fox News reports, he said, “It’s been quite transformative for a lot of our clients,” he told Fox News Digital. “It’s really a rewarding experience to be a part of that.”
Gerstner’s practice usually gives IV ketamine injections to clients by administering Ketamine in 2-3-hour sessions and psychotherapy before and after treatment.
What are the potential risks of using Ketamine?
Ketamine can work as a “really powerful anti-depressant and anti-suicidal drug,” as per Gerstner. He also warned about “not the right answer for everybody or everything.”
There are some risks and limitations involved, he noted; for instance, abusing opportunities for using Ketamine.
There is a lack of regulation when it comes to how ketamine treatments are initiated, Gerstner pointed out, as that drug was previously approved for use as a general anesthetic.
Gerstner said, “The field is wide open, and it’s a little bit like the Wild West,” and “This is a really powerful medication, and the way that it’s used can vary quite drastically,” reported Fox News.
Different treatment centers have reported positive responses from patients upon every administration of the drug in its various forms, which include oral, IV, and injection, according to Gerstner.
When it comes to patients with severe resistant depression to the treatment, the average IV course is usually administered once every two to three days in the hospital-based outpatient clinic, which is defined by Michigan Medicine and VAAAHS.
Additionally, Gerstner said, “Those things are really all over the map,” and “It’s hard to regulate, and there’s some risk in that, but it’s also what we have to do while learning what’s best.”
According to Gerstner, for those veterans seeking treatment of better quality, Ketamine is a “really important thing to consider for depression.”
He added, “If they’re suffering from depression and feel like they’re not getting what they need, and they haven’t had a discussion about Ketamine, it’s OK to ask [their provider] about it, reported Fox News.