Intended for healthcare professionals


Ketamine based drug should be available for treatment resistant depression, says FDA panel

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 22 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l858
  1. Joanne Silberner
  1. The BMJ

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strongly endorsed esketamine, a derivative of the anaesthetic drug ketamine, for treatment resistant depression. The recommendation makes it likely that the agency will approve the drug for marketing in the US.

Injectable and oral ketamine is used for pain relief and sedation, and can cause amnesia. It is also used to sedate horses, and has illicit popularity as a “club drug” to induce hallucinations and calmness, or in the words of the website Vice, “to get wobbly.”1

If approved by the FDA, esketamine would be the first new treatment for major depression in decades. Some clinics in the …

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