Ketamine

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Researchers from UNSW and Black Dog Institute say major gaps in the literature must be addressed before ketamine is widely adopted as a clinical treatment for depression.

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UNSW researchers at Black Dog Institute have preliminary evidence that suggests ketamine is effective as an antidepressant when delivered to elderly patients in repeated intravenous doses.  

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The largest randomised control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of ketamine as a new treatment for major depression has begun across Australia and New Zealand.

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We should resist pressure to prescribe ketamine to treat depression until clinical trials on the drug's long-term safety and effectiveness are completed, a leading UNSW mental health expert says.

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A $2.1 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council announced today will see UNSW Professor Colleen Loo lead Australia’s largest clinical trial of ketamine as a new treatment for major depression.

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A drug traditionally used as an anaesthetic and sometimes used recreationally could be effective in preventing suicide in severely depressed patients, says a UNSW academic who has trialled the drug.

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Ketamine may be useful as an antidepressant in urgent situations – where the patient is seriously depressed and acutely suicidal – and where other treatments have failed, writes Colleen Loo.

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Ketamine is being trialled in people with severe depression and is providing almost instant relief from symptoms, offering fresh hope of a quick new way to manage the illness at its worst.