Ketamine, the horse tranquilizer which is also a popular party drug, could be used to treat people who have been suffering from long term depression, according a study.
Researchers at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford said they noticed a “remarkable” change in people suffering treatment-resistant depression once they were given the drug, which has recently been upgraded to Class B.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, involved giving 28 patients either three or six intravenous infusions of 5mg/kg of ketamine, each lasting 40 minutes.
The study showed after the final infusion, eight had responded to the positively treatment, four of whom improved so much they were classed as being in remission from depression. Those who had shown improvements felt the benefits of the drug for between 25 days and eight months.
The scientists said with further trials in monitored situations, ketamine could one day be considered a valid treatment for severe depression.