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Ketamine: Future Treatment For Unresponsive Depression?

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Abstract

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a debilitating mental health condition which accounts for a significant portion of worldwide disability. Historically, the suggested pharmacotherapy to treat MDD have been monoaminergic-acting antidepressants, such as SSRIs or SNRIs. These drugs can provide relief, but often take weeks to noticeably improve depressive symptoms and are not always effective, leading to a condition known as Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). It is believed that 50% MDD sufferers in Ireland suffer from TRD, and thus the development of improved pharmacotherapies is necessary. One emerging therapy is low dose, intravenous (R-S)-Ketamine (ketamine). While the molecular basis of ketamine’s therapeutic effect has not been fully determined, it has shown to effectively and swiftly mitigate the symptoms of TRD. Barriers do exist preventing the legal prescription of ketamine, including its questionable safety profile and risk of inducing dependence. Despite this, ketamine remains a promising pharmacotherapy for TRD and further investigation is required.

Frere, M., & Tepper, J. (2016). Ketamine: Future Treatment For Unresponsive Depression?. Irish Medical Journal. 10147/620895
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