The First Clinical Trial of Ketamine as an Antidepressant Started Today

Universities in Australia and New Zealand will begin a formal round of testing
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Universities in Australia and New Zealand will begin a formal round of testing
Ketamine molecule

Ketamine molecule

Today marks the the first "gold standard" clinical trial run intended to determine the effectiveness of ketamine as an antidepressant. Earlier in the year The American Psychiatric Association revealed findings that the dissociatively a might treat severe depression, and now researchers from seven universities in Australia and New Zealand will administer it to 200 patients.

Up until now, only small pilot studies had been conducted in regards to the medical applications of the drug - most of which were intended to determine effective methods of administering the drug on patients. While initially marketed as a veterinary anesthetic, the PCP derivative has been widely sold on the black market for recreational purposes owing to its distinctive hallucinogenic properties.

Professor Colleen Loo from the University of New South Wales told The Guardian:

“Existing studies show that if you give a single dose of ketamine to people with serious clinical depression, they do tend to get better – but that only lasts for a few days. Feeling better for a few days is no good with a chronic disease like depression. What we now need to do is establish whether it can be used as an effective ongoing clinical treatment and, if so, who best responds to the treatment and what the treatment guidelines might be."

Despite what benefits it may have, ketamine is still widely considered to be more dangerous than most other hallucinogens for its addictive properties. Back in May, for instance, dance music legend Erick Morillo opened up about his own struggles with injecting substance, which he admitted almost led to the amputation of his arm.

University of Otago in New Zealand, Sir Charles Gairdner hospital in Perth, South Eastern Private hospital and Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre in Victoria, the Brain and Mind Centre and Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, the University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide hospital are also among those participating in the clinical trials.