A new ketamine-based drug is being tested

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This July 25, 2018 photo shows a vial of ketamine, which is normally stored in a locked cabinet, in Chicago. It was launched decades ago as an anesthetic for animals and people, became a potent battlefield pain reliever in Vietnam and morphed into the trippy club drug Special K. Now the chameleon drug ketamine is finding new life as an unapproved treatment for depression and suicidal behavior. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

Despite the fact that ketamine is a really interesting variant of a potent antidepressant even in severe cases of clinical depression, it nevertheless poses a certain danger because it has pronounced hallucinogenic effects. That is why specialists from Yale University today presented the results of their new study on an attempt to create a medicine that copies the effects of an antidepressant on ketamine, but lacking its unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects – as a result, scientists created an experimental compound called NV-5138 and tested it on mice .

It is worth mentioning that in their desire to create a safer, but no less effective analogue of ketamine, specialists from Yale experimented in one way or another with various molecules contained in ketamine and found that for the most part the effects of relieving depression occur due to their interaction with a well-defined by the brain – this is the mTORCI brain region.

Experimenting in experimental mice, experts noticed that during clinical depression, the activity of this part of the brain is significantly weakened, and ketamine can significantly stir it up – that's why NV-5138 became the most suitable candidate for this role, since it managed to narrow the range of effects of its molecules on this part of the brain, while avoiding a wider spread of its influence. Thus, scientists were able to quickly cope with the fitting of the main chemical components and combinations in their experimental medicinal compound, noting that in this area NV-5138 is not inferior to ketamine.

It is possible that soon the US Federal Food and Drug Administration – which has previously approved the medical use of ketamine-containing nasal spray – will consider the new development and take steps to distribute it. However, it is worth noting the fact that this will definitely be preceded by various tests.

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