A study shows that KETAMINE helps reduce depression in a fifth of difficult patients.
Australian researchers found that the drug, which Twitter CEO Elon Musk reportedly microdoses to treat the condition, benefited treatment-resistant adults.
They tested it on 179 patients who had failed with antidepressants or talk therapy, some given a placebo.
Professor Colleen Loo of the University of New South Wales said: “For people with treatment-resistant depression, a 20 percent remission is actually quite good.”
“We found that ketamine was clearly better than placebo – 20 percent reported no longer having clinical depression, compared to just 2 percent in the placebo group.
“This is a big and very obvious difference and brings definitive evidence in an area that has had only small studies in the past.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, around one in six Britons – 16 per cent of adults – suffered from moderate to severe symptoms of depression in 2022.
Previous studies have shown that ketamine, a tranquilizer for horses banned for human use in the UK, may help treat the condition.
Musk tweeted last year, “I’ve spoken to many more people who have benefited from psychedelics and ketamine than SSRIs and amphetamines.”
It cannot be prescribed by the NHS and the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) rejected a ketamine nasal spray for medical use last year.
Studies have shown it to be as effective for major depression as electroconvulsive therapy, which is usually considered the “gold standard” treatment.
The latest study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, looked at how well the drug worked compared to a placebo.
Participants were given either an injection of the drug every two weeks or a placebo, which produces similar “drowsy” effects.
After one month, about a third of those treated with ketamine said their symptoms had improved by at least 50 percent.
In a fifth of the cases, the symptoms disappeared completely, compared with just two percent of the patients who received the placebo.