Neuroscientists explore use of ketamine to treat depression
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of esketamine, the first significant depression medication in decades, may provide a new choice for some patients with severe depression who have not responded to prior treatments. Esketamine is related to ketamine, which is used for other purposes in medicine but is not approved by the FDA for treating depression. As part of UCLA’s Depression Grand Challenge project, scientists are examining how ketamine might work in the treatment of depression and which patients might respond better to treatment. Nelson Freimer, MD, director of the Depression Grand Challenge and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, can discuss the challenges of developing new ways to treat the global issue of depression.