Ketamine, a drug that's been retooled as a "breakthrough" in depression treatment, is one step closer to becoming mainstream medicine, thanks to the results of a Phase II clinical trial published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry. But some experts are wary of creating a new drug-abuse crisis by introducing a potentially addictive drug to millions of new users.
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When it comes to preventing suicide, true breakthroughs are hard to come by. And although there are many drugs and therapy approaches available for people with depression, less than half of people achieve any sustained remission. In recent years, though, doctors have found convincing evidence that low doses of ketamine, a drug used by doctors and veterinarians for its anaesthetic properties and by sensation-seekers for its psychedelic effects, might represent an genuine advance in treating depression. A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that ketamine could also be effective as a fast-acting treatment to prevent suicide.