The need for speed: A new approach to treating depressive disorders

2010

Challenge

Current therapies for depressive disorders take many weeks to work, during which time the symptoms of depression, including suicidal thinking, persist and can be fatal. Patients need better treatments that begin relieving symptoms immediately.

Advance

IRP researchers led by Carlos A. Zarate, M.D., took a novel approach to the problem and discovered that a single infusion of ketamine provides a fast, robust, and sustained antidepressant effect, including reduction of suicidal thoughts within minutes.

Impact

Having demonstrated unprecedented speed of symptom relief, ketamine and its analogs are now being tested in clinical trials around the world and, if approved for use, could become a new standard of care for treating people with depressive disorders.

Publications

DiazGranados N, Ibrahim LA, Brutsche NE, Ameli R, Henter ID, Luckenbaugh DA, Machado-Vieira R, Zarate CA Jr. (2010). Rapid resolution of suicidal ideation after a single ketamine infusion in patients with treatment-resistant major depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 71(12), 1605-11.

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