Illegal party drug ketamine eases depression in just 30 minutes: Horse tranquiliser relieves the mental health disorder by preventing brain signals ‘overfiring’, study finds
By ALEXANDRA THOMPSON HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE
Feb 16, 2018
The illegal party drug ketamine could ease depression in just 30 minutes, new research suggests.
The horse tranquiliser relieves the mental health disorder by preventing brain signals ‘overfiring’, a Chinese study found.
Unlike other antidepressants, which change brain chemical levels and can take months to have an effect, ketamine controls the transmission of electrical signals via nerve cells in rodents, the research adds.
If the drug has the same effect in humans, it could treat the mental health disorder much faster than currently-available medications, according to the researchers.
Ketamine is a Schedule III drug in the US and a class B in the UK. It can legally be prescribed by doctors as a general anaesthetic in humans and animals.
More specifically, the results reveal ketamine works to block ‘neural bursting’, which occurs when groups of nerves fire signals as a barrage rather than a slow pulse.
The researchers, from Zhejiang University, also found the drug is only effective at relieving depression symptoms in rodents if specific receptors and channels are activated.
The findings were published in the journal Nature.