Bipolar disorder is a debilitating and serious illness where sufferers have severe mood swings between depression and mania. The low or high mood episodes can go on for days or even months, and suicide risk is high.
Antidepressants are commonly used as a bipolar depression treatment, but they’re not generally effective. Many bipolar patients still continue to have periods of depression while being treated, and many of them need to try a number of different kinds of antidepressants before finding one that actually works. What’s more, it could take a number of weeks of bipolar depression treatment before the patient starts to feel relief from the antidepressant’s effects.
For these reasons, better bipolar depression treatments are much needed. A study confirms that scientists could have found a bipolar depression treatment in a drug called ketamine.
Researchers previously discovered that just one dose of ketamine had rapid antidepressant effects in bipolar disorder patients with depression. The results have been replicated in a separate group of bipolar disorder patients with depression.
In this study, a single dose of placebo and a single dose of ketamine was administered to a group of patients on 2 different days, 2 weeks apart. The subjects were then very carefully checked and their suicidal thoughts and depressive symptoms were routinely scored.
When ketamine was administered to the patients, their symptoms of depression significantly improved after only 40 minutes, and continued to be improved over 3 days. Overall, 79 percent of them improved with the ketamine treatment, but none reported improvement after they received placebo.
For the 1st time in bipolar depression patients it was also found that thoughts of suicide were significantly reduced with ketamine treatment. These anti suicidal effects also took place within 60 minutes.
These results are of significant importance considering that there are only a few approved acute bipolar depression treatments and not one of them take effect as rapidly, they generally take weeks or more to have similar antidepressant effects compared to ketamine.
Ketamine is an NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist, meaning that it works by stopping the actions of NMDA. Evidence that blocking the NMDA receptor complex is linked to generating rapid anti suicidal and anti depressant effects provides an avenue for developing the next generation of bipolar depression treatment which is radically different than current treatments.
Reference for: Ketamine for Bipolar Depression Treatment