A breakdown product, not ketamine, may ease depression | Science News

News

A breakdown product, not ketamine, may ease depression

Hallucinogenic drug’s metabolite shows rapid effectiveness without side effects in mice

By
1:00pm, May 4, 2016
bottles of ketamine

BREAKDOWN  The anesthetic drug ketamine can ease depression, small studies have shown. But the benefit may come not from ketamine itself, but from one of its breakdown products, a new study suggests. 

Ketamine, a drug that has shown promise in quickly easing depression, doesn’t actually do the job itself. Instead, depression relief comes from one of the drug’s breakdown products, a new study in mice suggests. The results, published May 4 in Nature, identify a potential depression-fighting drug that works quickly but without ketamine’s serious side effects or potential for abuse.

The discovery “could be a major turning point,” says neuroscientist Roberto Malinow of the University of California, San Diego. “I’m sure that drug companies will look at this very closely.”

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News