A $5 generic ketamine drug promises to cure severe depression

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We have previously reported numerous studies demonstrating ketamines remarkable ability to treat even the most stubborn cases of clinical depression. Ketamine is so effective that it has even been known to reduce suicidal thoughts in depressed patients. However, most of these currently available ketamine treatments have one major limitation: they cost a lot!

For example, a single dose of S-ketamine nasal spray, which is a proprietary and FDA-approved antidepressant, will cost you about $800. Additionally, you’ll need to spend an additional $350 or more (depending on which clinic you choose) for each session. of treatment you follow.

Also, the effect of one dose of S-ketamine only lasts a few days or weeks. Depending on the patient’s clinical situation, it may be necessary to take multiple doses and treatment sessions. Do you think most people can afford a $1000 weekly depression treatment?

The point is, if you’re not wealthy, the cost of current ketamine treatments could end up making you more depressed. However, there has been good news recently, a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Black Dog Institute in Sydney have successfully tested a low-cost version of ketamine that can treat severe depression.

A single dose of this generic ketamine drug is likely to cost around $5, reducing the overall cost of treatment by more than 60 percent as patients will now only have to pay their clinic session fee.

With S-ketamine nasal spray, you’re out of pocket about $1,200 per treatment when you pay for the drug and procedure, whereas for generic ketamine, you’re paying about $300-350 per treatment including drug cost, Colleen said. Loo, lead researcher and professor of psychiatry at UNSW.

Testing generic ketamine for depression

To accurately assess the effects of their low-cost drug, the researchers conducted a double-blind study involving 179 individuals with treatment-resistant depression (a severe depressive disorder that can evade conventional antidepressant treatment). For one month, all of these patients received two injections a week and were monitored for two hours.

Some of these patients received generic injections of ketamine and others received injections of midazolam, a general anesthetic (a placebo). The most interesting thing is that neither the patients nor the people who gave them the drugs knew who received what (this is what a double-blind study means).

Additionally, the researchers chose Midazolam as a placebo because, while it doesn’t treat depression, it has the same side effects as generic ketamine.

Loo further explained: Using midazolam which is not a treatment for depression, but it makes you feel a little lightheaded and outside of it you are much less likely to know if you have received ketamine, which has similar acute effects.

All patients were asked to note the changes in their mood at the end of the trial and compare this with how they felt one month later. The results were astounding, 20% of the participants who received generic ketamine had no symptoms of clinical depression. They achieved 100% remission within a month of treatment.

Meanwhile, only two percent of participants in the placebo group improved their depression symptoms. Additionally, in a third of the participants in the ketamine group, their self-reported symptoms were reduced by 50% after the trial.

What Makes Generic Ketamine So Special?

When every known treatment for depression fails to improve the condition in a patient, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which involves electrically stimulating a patient’s brain, is usually prescribed.

In general, scientists don’t test new drugs on patients who have received ECT. But surprisingly, the trial of the generic drug ketamine also involved participants who had had ECT in the past and they too showed improvements. This makes the results even more significant.

For people with treatment-resistant depression, so those who haven’t benefited from different modalities of talk therapy, commonly prescribed antidepressants or electroconvulsive therapy, the 20 percent remission is actually quite good, Loo said.

According to a WHO report, depression affects 280 million people and is the leading cause of suicide, killing more than 700,000 people each year worldwide. Professor Loo and her team strongly believe that their low-cost ketamine has the potential to provide an affordable, effective and feasible treatment for depression that the world desperately needs.

The study is published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

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