UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — An anesthetic commonly known as a “party drug” may be effective at treating depression in the elderly.
That’s according to researchers in Australia who carried out the first trial of its kind involving ketamine.
Ketamine is often used to sedate horses, but used recreationally, it can have psychedelic effects.
Sixteen participants over the age of 60 who had been diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression were given doses of ketamine over five weeks.
According to results published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, roughly half of the participants showed no signs of depression after a week of a single dose.
In a six-month follow-up, 43 percent of participants said they had no major symptoms of depression.
One of the study leaders, professor Colleen Loo told Australia’s ABC News, the benefits weren’t due to a temporary high, because “the antidepressant effects kicked in later.”
Researchers say more work is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks of ketamine use.