(ABCNEWS.GO) — Ketamine, a prescription drug that has been used as an anesthetic for decades and gained popularity on the street as “Special K,” is being tested in Houston as a quick fix to severe depression.
Researchers at the Neuro Psychiatric Center next to Ben Taub General Hospital are testing one infusion of ketamine for its short-term effects in treating depression.
If the study’s results are successful, a second study will administer ketamine three times a week to patients to test the drug’s long-term effects.
“This is supposed to help for a couple months. The study is still under way, so it’s hard for us to know now how long the effects will last. Will it cure depression for a year or longer? I don’t think so. But we’re hoping it will work for a few months in the second trial,” said Dr. Asim Shah, who directs the mood disorder program at Ben Taub General Hospital.