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Party drug may treat depression in elderly: research

Ketamine could be used as an effective antidepressant when delivered in repeated doses.
Ketamine could be used as an effective antidepressant when delivered in repeated doses. News Corp Australia

AUSTRALIAN seniors may need a major rethink about recreational drugs after new research showed ketamine could possible treat depression in the elderly.

The University of NSW and Black Dog Institute study found that ketamine, a drug usually associated with the Australian party scene, could be used as an effective antidepressant when delivered in repeated doses.

The study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, tested different doses among participants aged 60 and over suffering from depression.

And the results showed that the drug, using a small injection under the skin, was well-tolerated by the subjects.

"Older people are also more likely to have co-morbidities like neurodegenerative disorders and chronic pain, which can cause further complications due to ketamine's reported side effects," Research co-author Duncan Georges said.

"Our results indicate a dose-titration method may be particularly useful for older patients, as the best dose was selected for each individual person to maximise ketamine's benefits while minimising its adverse side effects."

However, the success of this study has been hampered by previous studies - which are limited to just five case reports - showing mixed results.

Topics:  editors picks general-seniors-news medical wellbeing


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