Ketamine: The Hopes and the Hurdles

  • Sheldon H. Preskorn
    Address correspondence to Sheldon Preskorn, M.D., Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 1010 N. Kansas, Wichita, Kansas 67214
    Department of Psychiatry and Behaviorial Health, Kansas University School of Medicine-Wichita (KUSM-W) and the KUSM-W Clinicial Trial Unit, Wichita, Kansas
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      Ketamine and related drugs are arguably one of the most exciting developments in antidepressant pharmacology in more than half a century and are a potentially new mechanism capable of mediating antidepressant action. That mechanism is the antagonism of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NR) and possibly one or more subtypes of that receptor. By blocking NMDA receptors, ketamine and related drugs target glutamate, which is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and a transmitter not directly affected by any currently marketed antidepressant.
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      Linked Article

      • Ketamine for Depression: Where Do We Go from Here?
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 72Issue 7
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          Since publication of the first randomized controlled trial describing rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine, several reports have confirmed the potential utility of this dissociative anesthetic medication for treatment of major depressive episodes, including those associated with bipolar disorder and resistant to other medications and electroconvulsive therapy. These reports have generated several questions with respect to who might respond to ketamine, how, and for how long. To start answering these questions.
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