Oct 7, 2012

New Drug for Depression

"Ketamine was developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic and pain reliever. In the 1970s, recreational drug users figured out that if you take enough ketamine, you can have a mind-bending experience. 
But the drug's ability to relieve depression wasn't clear until just a few years ago."  NPR report

Driving to take Dwane for a haircut, dinner and a movie, I was listening to NPR, and they had a report on a new medication for depression which works immediately (unlike existing medications which can take weeks for the effects to be felt).  The doctors interviewed said that this is the first truly new medication for depression since Prosac, which became available for prescription in the 1980's.  While this new drug has some concerning side effects, it has opened up a whole new area of possibilities for drugs for depression because it works differently in the brain.  Medication for depression is relevant to those of us who are caregivers because depression is a possibility for either the care receiver or us.  In fact, anyone thought to have dementia should be screened for depression because severe depression can cause such serious functioning problems that it could be misdiagnosed as dementia.  Keeping informed of new advances in medicine is just one way to take care of ourselves and the service we provide the care receiver. 

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