(CTN News) – Ketamine is emerging as a promising treatment for depression in adults, with some studies showing that the drug can alleviate mental suffering in as little as 24 hours.
A new review study suggests that repeated doses of ketamine may be safe for children, though it is understandable that there are concerns over its use in pediatrics.
It is worth noting that ketamine has been Depression administered to children in medical settings for many decades despite its connotations as an illicit party drug.
“Ketamine has an outstanding safety profile in children when used as a single dose treatment, which is why it is used extensively worldwide for analgesia, anesthesia, and sedation in children.”, state the study authors.
It is important to note, however, that while this drug has shown enormous potential as a treatment for depression, its therapeutic effects are transient, which requires repeated administration.
Consequently, there are Depression concerns regarding the safety of long-term administration of ketamine due to the possibility of tolerance and whether using medicinal ketamine could serve as a gateway into illicit drug use, the researchers write. Due to this, pediatric studies have been limited.”
A systematic review of the existing research on repeated doses was conducted in order to determine the safety of giving repeated doses to children. A total of 87 children received ketamine over extended periods, with the highest number of doses received by one child being 42.
Overall, there were no serious adverse reactions identified. Moreover, no evidence was found that children developed a tolerance to the drug over time, indicating that none of the children required higher doses over time.
Researchers report that the longest follow-up period was six months. In this time period, there were no reports of long-term consequences (including neurocognitive effects).
According to the study authors, some children were able to tolerate Depression doses that were significantly higher than those typically prescribed to adults.
It may seem odd, but there is evidence to suggest that children metabolize drugs faster than adults, so this finding may not be as surprising as one might expect.
Ketamine is also associated with several alarming side effects known collectively as emergence phenomena. These phenomena are similar to schizophrenia and include delirium and hallucinations and have been reported in up to 55 percent of adult users.
It must be noted, however, that the authors state that “emergence phenomena were not reported in any of the patients in this study, which is in agreement with previous reports that this frightening symptom appears to be less prevalent in children than in adults.”
Even though repeated ketamine use appears to be safe, some children have experienced side effects. Dissociation accounted for 48 percent of all adverse reactions. In addition to headaches and nausea, other side effects were mild and did not require medical treatment.
According to the researchers, their findings support the use of repeated ketamine doses as a treatment for children with depression in large-scale clinical trials.
The study has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.