Ketamine found to reduce depression symptoms in bipolar disorder

Originally appeared at: Ketamine, an anesthetic also known on the streets as Cat Valium, K, Special-K, and Vitamin K may relieve depression according to a report released in the August 2010 issue of the Archives of General Psyhchiatry, (AGP). Ketamine is primarily used for induction and maintenance of anesthesia. In the study, subjects suffered from bipolar disorder resistant to other forms of treatment. When given one intravenous dose of ketamine hydrochloride, the patients depression was reduced within 40 minutes according to the report. Bipolar disorder is one of the more serious mental health conditons worldwide, and ranks in the top 10 causes of medical disability according to the AGP. “About 4 percent of Americans will develop bipolar disorder in their lifetimes, and depressive symptoms dominate for most of the course of the illness,” states Carlos A. Zarate Jr., M.D. on The study, involved 18 patients with bipolar disorder that failed to respond to the medications lithium, or valproate. The subjects were given injections of ketamine hydrochloride, or a placebo, (inactive substance), over the test period of 2 weeks. They were assessed using a depression rating scale before each of the injections, and after at “…intervals of 40, 80, 120 and 230 minutes and one, two, three, seven, 10 and 14 days afterward,” according to the report. For those receiving ketamine, their depressive symptoms improved significantly within 40 minutes of the injection while those receiving the placebo did not, except for a small percentage. Seventy-one percent of the patients responded favorably to the ketamine while 7 percent responded favorably to the placebo. Ketamine is a drug also abused by teens, and younger adults, causing what is described as a dissociative state. Dissociative drugs, like Ketamine, PCP, and LSD, alter the person’s state of mind, and mood. These drugs cause a person to detach from his surroundings. “Reports suggest that ketamine produces a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to, flashbacks, hallucinations, dysphoria, anxiety, insomnia, or disorientaion. Ketamine dependence and tolerance may develop in individuals with a history of drug abuse or dependence,” states Although ketamine has been found to have favorable effects on bipolar disorder, more research is needed, just as the drug MDMA, or Ecstasy has been shown to help people suffering from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Appears that yet another popular drug of abuse has been found to have benefits on its face. Keep in mind though the preliminary, and short-term nature of these studies. When these chemicals are abused, however, it is another story altogether as far as favorable, and unfavorable effects are concerned. And as with any drug, there are side-efffects, and some of those have killed people, especially when abusing them, especially mixing other chemicals together like a pill cocktail. Just ask Heath Ledger. This article discusses a recent study on the potential of ketamine to help people suffering from bipolar disorder.