First study of ketamine for treating adolescent depression yields successful results

A huge amount of research is currently underway investigating the compelling, and novel, effects of ketamine on depression. The entirely unique way the drug interacts with the brain is revealing new and exciting pathways for neuroscientists investigating everything from fatigue to suicidal thoughts. However, very little study has been undertaken into the effects of the drug on adolescents.

The impetus behind the research came from the hypothesis that the enhanced neuroplasticity of adolescent brains could help extend the duration of efficacy in ketamine treatments for depression, and potentially result in long-term benefits. The researchers write in the study that, “adolescence is a key time period for emergence of depression and represents an opportune and critical developmental window for intervention to prevent negative outcomes.”

The study recruited 13 subjects aged between 12 and 18. All subjects were clinically diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, meaning they had failed to respond to at least two prior antidepressant trials. The treatment involved six ketamine infusions over the course of two weeks, with doses based on body weight.

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