John Krystal: Ketamine – The Next Major Breakthrough for Treating Depression?

April 1, 2007

Ketamine has a long history of clinical usage and is known for its effective anesthetic properties. However, ketamine has gained a fair amount of notoriety in recent years as a recreational “club drug” due to its dissociative side effects.

But in the midst of this controversy, ketamine is quietly emerging as the forerunner of what promises to be the next big frontier in treating depression.

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects over 120 million people worldwide, making it the fourth largest contributor to the global burden of disease. And until relatively recently, much of the current focus on treating depression has centered upon compounds and derivatives which interact with the serotonin system. Ketamine, by contrast, works directly on the glutaminergic system, specifically on the NMDA receptor sites. And the treatment results tend to be much more immediate – and sometimes even profound.

We are very excited to feature Dr. John Krystal on this segment. Dr. Krystal has been one of the most influential researchers studying the role that the neurotransmitter glutamate plays in various mood disorders. Join us in this fascinating program as we discuss the emerging role of ketamine as a viable treatment for depression – and how this new scientific focus just might be the next target of “Big Pharma.”