SAN FRANCISCO — A drug long-used as an anesthetic is showing increasing evidence that it also eases symptoms of depression, new research suggests.
In a small study, the drug ketamine improved major depression better than an active placebo, an anesthetic that had similar effects. The findings were presented Monday (May 20) here at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. Past studies had suggested that ketamine could ease depression, but this is the largest study to date.
Ketamine is an anesthetic used by veterinarians on animals. In people, ketamine, or "Special K" is also a popular club drug that can cause visual and auditory hallucinations and the feeling of being out of body, an experience users call going down the "k-hole."
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