• Eric Milbrandt, MD, MPH

Ketamine treats depression within hours!

Updated: Dec 15, 2018

Many chronically depressed and treatment-resistant patients experience immediate relief from symptoms after IV infusion of small amounts of the drug ketamine. Current evidence suggests that ketamine helps regenerate synaptic connections between brain cells damaged by stress and depression, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine as published in the journal Science.


Ketamine works on an entirely different type of neurotransmitter system than current antidepressants, which can take months to improve symptoms of depression and do not work at all for one out of every three patients. 


“The rapid therapeutic response of ketamine in treatment-resistant patients is the biggest breakthrough in depression research in a half century,” said Ronald Duman, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neurobiology at Yale.


Originally published at YaleNews.com

Ketamine leads to an increase in the number of spines (see arrows), the sites of excitatory connections between neurons. This increased connectivity can reverse lower synapse numbers in depression and is thought to be critical for the antidepressant action of ketamine.

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