Ketamine is a powerful drug that is FDA approved for use as an anesthetic commonly used in surgery. Ketamine is also gaining ground being used to treat post traumatic stress disorder and severe depression. Dr. Steve Levine is the founder and CEO of Actify Neurotherapies and has been pioneering the use of Ketamine in this way since 2011.
Dr. Levine says, “Ketamine was developed as a general anesthetic it affects many systems of the brain and in the body. It's a medicine that goes a lot of places and does a lot of things.”
PTSD has been traditionally treated with medications usually prescribed for depression and anxiety and some forms of talk therapy says Dr. Levine. “Talk therapies can be really effective. Medicines oftentimes make that talk therapy more effective and medicine is often necessary for people who are suicidal. Unfortunately most of the medicines that are available don't work all that well and they definitely don't work fast enough, they can take weeks to months to work if they're going to work at all. The big deal about Ketamine and what makes it so different and so special is that not only can it work almost immediately but independent of any effects it has on PTSD or depression, it's been shown to dramatically reduce suicidal thinking and actions very very quickly.”
So how does Ketamine treat depression and and trauma? Dr, Levine says, “What is thought to be the way that it treats PTSD and depression, is that those conditions cause the loss of the number and a function of connections between important areas of the brain. Ketamine within just hours can start to restore and repair those connections. It's not FDA approved for this indication, Ketamine is only FDA approved as a general anesthetic and it has been since 1970. This is an off label use when it's used for PTSD, depression and suicide and it's widely practiced off label for those indications now in the U.S. and around the world.”
For more information on the off label use of Ketamine to treats PTSD and severe depression, you can visit the Actify Nuerotherapy website here. You can also visit the webpage for the Ketamine Advocacy Network here.