Summary: Researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and the University of Adelaide are conducting a world-first study to trial a new slow-release ketamine tablet as an alternative treatment for depression. This innovative approach aims to treat depression that has not responded to other forms of treatment.
New Depression Treatment: Slow-Release Ketamine Tablet
The study, led by the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) and the University of Adelaide, is testing a new product that releases ketamine gradually into the body in tablet form. This approach is designed to treat depression that is resistant to current medications available on the market. Up to 55% of people experience treatment-resistant depression, where they do not respond well to existing medications.
Ketamine, commonly used for pain relief and anesthesia, is a dissociative drug that acts on brain chemicals and can alter the brain’s interpretation of sensory inputs. It is also known for its illegal use as a hallucinogen. The current methods of administering ketamine can lead to sporadic uptake and rapid side effects like drowsiness, disorientation, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate. These side effects can be off-putting and hinder daily activities such as working or driving.
The new slow-release ketamine tablet aims to avoid these rapid and unpleasant symptoms associated with existing ketamine treatments. It has passed initial volunteer trials, meeting safety requirements, and is now ready for the next phase of research in South Australia.
The RAH is seeking volunteers aged 18 and over who have tried common antidepressant medications without effective response. The trial involves screening participants at the RAH, with the possibility of an overnight stay for the first dose, followed by regular home medication over several weeks. Participants will be in close contact with the research team to monitor their progress.
Professor Guy Ludbrook from CALHN stated that depression is very common and can be disabling. Despite several available treatments, they are not effective for everyone. The slow-release approach in the trial appears to reduce the risk of rapid bursts of unpleasant effects.
Scott Clark, Head of Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide, highlighted that while some clinics offer ketamine treatment for depression, this trial is the first in the world to test a slow-release tablet. This formulation allows for home administration, similar to current antidepressant medications, with regular psychiatric support.
Source: India Education Diary
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