¿Una solución psicodélica para la depresión?

ZÚRICH – Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, la depresión afecta a unos 350 millones de personas en todo el mundo, lo que la convierte en una de las enfermedades psiquiátricas más prevalentes. Pero sólo la mitad aproximadamente de las personas que toman antidepresivos responden a ellos, y aquellas personas que sí lo hacen tal vez tengan que esperar varias semanas o inclusive meses antes de experimentar algún alivio -una falencia crítica para la gente con un riesgo inmediato de suicidio-. En consecuencia, se necesitan con urgencia antidepresivos de acción rápida.

La ketamina -una droga principalmente utilizada como anestésico en medicina veterinaria y como anestésico y analgésico en los hospitales durante procesos quirúrgicos u otros procedimientos dolorosos- hoy es la estrella en ascenso de la investigación sobre la depresión. Parece aliviar los síntomas más severos de la depresión en minutos u horas, inclusive en pacientes que tienen pésimos antecedentes con otros tratamientos. 

En el primer estudio controlado, los investigadores reportaron una caída del 50% en los síntomas de la depresión en el lapso de dos horas luego de una infusión de ketamina, y un tercio de los pacientes prácticamente no registraban síntomas en el transcurso de un día. Es más, los pacientes dijeron tener menos pensamientos suicidas apenas 40 minutos después de recibir una inyección intravenosa de la droga. En algunos pacientes, los efectos de una dosis única pueden durar más de una semana.

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