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Ketamine & D-Cycloserine: A New Treatment For Depression?
The results of new research suggest that combining the drug d-cycloserine with the dissociative anesthetic ketamine is an effective treatment for bipolar depression. In the new study, researchers from Columbia University discovered that d-cycloserine, a drug originally developed for the treatment of tuberculosis, can prolong the antidepressant effects of ketamine, which normally dissipate in a week or two. The study is discussed in an article appearing on the June, 24th, online version of USA Today (Study: Drug combination offers hope for bipolar depression).
 
For the study, researchers assigned eight subjects to three commonly used drugs that treat depression. After four weeks, in which the subjects showed no improvement in symptoms, the subjects were given the drug ketamine. The article suggests that upon receiving ketamine the patients exhibited a marked improvement in depression symptoms. The day after the patients recieved ketamine the subjects were given d-cycloserine. The study found that co-administration of d-cycloserine extended the antidepressant effects of ketamine from a few weeks to over eight weeks. The researchers claim their findings show on average a 50 percent reduction in symptoms of depression and a 75 percent reduction in the chance of patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression committing suicide.  
 
The study, however, did not include a control group and four of the patients were taking the antipsychotic drug Lurasidone during the treatment. The lead author of the study commented that he is currently applying for additional funding to conduct a larger study.
 
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