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HNK - Ketamine metabolite as oral antidepressant

Posted by SLS on June 21, 2014, at 13:53:31

New Compound Could Treat Depression Without Unwanted Side Effects

There may be a new compound to treat depression. Scientists have found that hydroxynoketamine (HNK) may treat symptoms of depression just as effectively and rapidly as ketamine without the unwanted side effects associated with the psychoactive drug.

"The clinical use of ketamine therapy for depression is limited because the drug is administered intravenously and may produce adverse effects such as hallucinations and sedation to the point of anesthesia," said Irving Wainer, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We found that the HNK compound significantly contributes to the anti-depressive effects of ketamine in animals, but doesn't produce the sedation or anesthesia, which makes HNK an attractive alternative as an antidepressant in humans."

HNK is actually one of several different compounds that are produced when ketamine is broken down in the body. The scientists tested HNK in rats to see if it alone could produce the same beneficial effects of ketamine without the unwanted side effects. The researchers gave the rats intravenous doses of ketamine, HNK and another compound produced by ketamine, called norketamine. The researchers analyzed the effect each had on stimulating certain cellular pathways in the rats' brains after 20, 30 and 60 minutes.

So what did they find? It turns out that the compound HNK, like ketamine, produced rapid antidepressant effects. Not only that, but HNK also stimulated neuro-regenerative pathways and initiated regrowth of neurons. It's also 1,000 times more potent than ketamine, doesn't act as an anesthetic agent and can even be taken by mouth.

"HNK's unique properties increase the possibility of the development of a self-administered, daily treatment that works quickly and can be taken at home for a variety of central nervous system diseases," said Wainer in a news release. "This is a very exciting discovery and we hope that the results of this study will enable future investigations into this potentially therapeutic and important compound."

The findings are published in the journal Anesthesiology

Some see things as they are and ask why.
I dream of things that never were and ask why not.

- George Bernard Shaw




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