By Gretchen Cuda Kroen: Complete Post through this link…
The anesthetic drug ketamine is at least as effective as electroconvulsive therapy for treating major depression and has fewer side effects, a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine reported.
More than 21 million adults in the US are estimated to suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. For those whose depression fails to respond to anti-depressive drugs, ECT, which involves inducing a seizure via electrical stimulation of the brain, is one of the few treatments that can provide life-changing relief.
The clinical trial of 403 patientsis the largest study ever done comparing ketamine and ECT treatments for depression that has ever been done, and the only one that also measured impacts to memory, Anand said.
The trial, conducted overfiveyears across multiple institutions including the Cleveland Clinic, compared the outcomes of patients selected at random to either receive ECT three times per week or ketamine twice per week for three weeks. Following treatment, patients answered questions about their depressive symptoms and quality of life, along with a battery of memory tests for the next six months.
Investigators found that 55% of patients who received ketamine and 41% who received ECT reported at least a 50% improvement in their self-reported depressive symptoms and quality of life that lasted at least six-months and concluded that treatments with ketamine were as effective as ECT.