Recent studies have shown that ketamine, traditionally used as an anesthetic, can rapidly reduce symptoms. PTSD and symptoms of depression. This finding is important given the slow onset of traditional treatments for her PTSD. However, questions remain regarding the optimal frequency and dosage of ketamine treatment, and the risks associated with its misuse are noteworthy.
of drug ketamine It can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in patients as early as one day after injection. That’s the key finding of my team’s new meta-analysis. just published in a magazine History of drug therapy.
Ketamine is a narcotic drug that is sometimes and increasingly used as a substance of abuse. researched as a treatment Treats a variety of mental health conditions.
Research analysis and findings
In our study, we analyzed as follows. 6 randomized controlled trials Representative of 259 patients with moderate to severe PTSD. In all trials, about half were injected with ketamine. The rest is salt water The drug midazolamlike benzodiazepines xanax It is also used as an anesthetic.
Patients who received ketamine experienced an approximately 25% reduction in PTSD symptoms on the first day and week after treatment. However, if the patient receives Repeated injections over 4 weeks, PTSD symptoms decreased by only 12%. The reduction in depressive symptoms was more modest, but still significant.
In most of these trials, patients received only one injection. The other two received six or more injections of the same dose over two to four weeks. Although the effects after the first injection were similar in all studies, it is unclear how well these effects are maintained when additional doses of ketamine are administered over time.
Overall, the effects of a single injection of ketamine are immediate, but not very strong. The best regimen to maintain these benefits by reinjecting ketamine remains to be determined.
The importance of ketamine for PTSD
PTSD, debilitating mental health disorders, occurs when past trauma causes flashbacks, nightmares, depressed mood, anxiety, and avoidance of activities that may trigger the traumatic memory. Patients with PTSD are twice as likely to attempt suicide than the average person.
about 13 million Americans suffer from PTSD This represents almost 5% of the adult population. PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Many veterans have this disorder, as do survivors of physical assault, natural disasters, child abuse, and sexual abuse. People with moderate to severe disease lose an average of about 3.5 days of work per month due to induced symptoms and treatment of the disease.
Current treatments and benefits of ketamine
trauma-focused psychotherapy – Techniques to help patients remember, process, and respond Traumatic memory therapy is best used to treat PTSD; May take several weeks to take effectnot all patients respond.
The following antidepressants are suitable for these people: Paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine Recommended as an alternative to or addition to psychotherapy.
However, like psychotherapy, these medications may not be effective for some time. 5-8 weeks – Unlike ketamine, the effects seem to start almost immediately. That said, the reduction in PTSD and depression symptoms over time after ketamine injections is about the same as that seen after traditional antidepressants take effect.
Some people with severe PTSD may have suicidal thoughts, so time is of the essence. Maybe you just can’t wait for the traditional options to start working. Ketamine may be an effective bridge to provide immediate symptom relief for patients until trauma-focused psychotherapy or other antidepressants take effect.
Open questions and costs
A big unknown when using ketamine for symptoms of PTSD and depression is how often injections are needed. The data are simply not robust enough to determine whether multiple doses maintain efficacy better than a single dose.
Ketamine costs approximately USD 800 per injectionTherefore, it is important to know how much to give for each treatment and how many injections to give over time.
Risks of ketamine abuse
Importantly, ketamine can be abused.If purchased from Unlicensed pharmacies and online stores, ketamine products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It may not have the correct dose, be expired, or not contain ketamine. Or, they may contain alternative medications that contain dangerous active ingredients. Synthetic street drug LSD.fake products like this May cause harm or even death to the patient.
Written by C. Michael White, Professor of the Practice of Pharmacy, University of Connecticut.
Adapted from an article originally published in conversation.