Un traitement psychédélique de la dépression ?

ZURICH – Selon l'OMS, 350 millions de personnes à travers le monde souffrent de dépression, ce qui en fait l'un des troubles psychiques les plus répandus. Or les médicaments antidépresseurs ne sont efficaces que sur la moitié des sujets, et encore faut-il attendre plusieurs semaines, parfois des mois, avant qu'ils n'agissent - un lapse de temps beaucoup trop long pour des personnes susceptibles de se suicider. On a donc besoin de toute urgence de trouver des antidépresseurs d'action rapide.

La kétamine - un médicament qui sert essentiellement d'anesthésique en médecine vétérinaire et d'anesthésique et d'analgésique de courte durée dans les hôpitaux lors d'interventions chirurgicales ou de gestes médicaux douloureux - est actuellement une étoile montante dans les recherches sur la dépression. Elle semble apaiser les symptômes les plus sévères dans les heures ou les minutes qui suivent son administration, même chez les patients pour lesquels les autres traitements ont échoué.

A l'issue de la première étude de contrôle, les chercheurs ont observé une diminution de 50% des symptômes de dépression dans les deux heures suivant l'administration de kétamine, et au bout d'une journée les symptômes ont pratiquement disparu chez un tiers des patients. Et plusieurs de ces derniers ont indiqué une baisse des idées suicidaires 40 minutes seulement après avoir reçu une injection intraveineuse de kétamine. Chez certains, l'effet d'une dose unique a duré plus d'une semaine.

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