People of different ages are living with depression. According to the World Health Organization, over 264 million people worldwide live with depression, and most of these are women. In 2019, 18.5% of adults were recorded as having depression, with about 3% of these dealing with severe symptoms. Depression is common among teenagers, with at least 20% of teenagers living with symptoms. Unfortunately, only 30% of these get treatment. A 2009 study by Scottye J. Cash, Ph.D. and Jeffrey A. Bridge, Ph.D. found a definite correlation between teenager suicide and depression. That is why it is necessary to find innovative ways to treat depression in teenagers. One such innovation is the use of Racemic Ketamine and Esketamine to treat treatment-resistant depression.
It is essential to find innovative ways to treat treatment-resistant depression. While regular medications help most patients with their depression, they do not work for those with treatment-resistant depression. If and when the symptoms improve, it is only for a short time. That is a common occurrence among teenagers. It is essential to find therapies that are effective for this particular set of patients. One of the treatments researchers are exploring is Racemic Ketamine, a drug related to esketamine.
What are Racemic Ketamine and Esketamine?
Racemic ketamine is a mixture of R-ketamine and S-ketamine, while esketamine only contains S-ketamine. Esketamine has been in use for a longer time since it started being used as an anesthetic in the 1960s. Today, it is used with other medications for depression. Esketamine for depression has seen some success, and researchers and doctors are looking to use ketamine similarly. Ketamine is often referred to as a dissociative anesthetic and leads to pain relief, amnesia, and sedation. When given to patients intravenously, it has an effect on their symptoms within hours.
Racemic ketamine administered intravenously is highly effective on treatment-resistant depression. There are several studies on the efficacy of ketamine in treating adult depression with a positive outlook. The problem researchers face with identifying treatments for younger patients is getting a good sample size to test the treatment. A significant concern for researchers in this area is ethically recruiting and randomizing teenager samples for testing.
Research by Dwyer JB, Landeros-Weisenberger A, Johnson JA, et.al. shows that it is possible to find a large enough sample size to test a treatment. Secondly, it shows that ketamine can have a positive impact on treatment-resistant depression in teenagers. The study did not find any severe side effects of the racemic ketamine. That said, with drugs that influence brain chemistry, there is a risk of addiction. It will require a lot of research to find out whether this drug poses any such risk.
Researchers have found that ketamine appears to play a therapeutic role in the treatment of depression. Many people would like to use ketamine for their children. It is essential to remain cautious because there is a need to find how possible psychosis-like effects of the drug play out for patients months after the treatments. It is also essential to know how long the positive effects of the treatment last. That said, it is crucial to support these innovations. They could change adolescent lives affected by depression, and also how teenage depression is treated the world over.
Ketamine has the potential to provide a brand new treatment regimen for teenagers living with treatment-resistant depression. It produces results quickly, and the long-term effects look promising. Further research and innovation are necessary to assess the probability of addiction.