In large doses, anesthesiologists use ketamine to put people under before surgery. In smaller doses, clubgoers use “Special K” to trip and hallucinate. In its newest application, ketamine has opened up to a whole new audience: those needing a fast-acting drug for stubborn depression.
Unlike traditional antidepressants, ketamine works in hours, not days or weeks. That is because ketamine works for depression in a mechanism completely different from typical antidepressants like SSRI’s and others. Patients can see rapid results without having to wait weeks or longer. Thus, even if a patient has failed other medications or ECT; ketamine provides another avenue of hope.