A review published this month in Science, describes the antidepressant effects of ketamine, a N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist, also known as a street drug.
Ketamine, opposite to typical antidepressants which take a long time to be effective and leave a high proportion of treatment resistant patients, has shown to produce rapid antidepressant effects in patients with severe treatment-resistant depression.
However, Ketamine, has some drawbacks in some patients, such as transient hallucinations and dissociative effects.
The first link between Ketamine and depression was made some years ago, and subsequent investigations suggest that Ketamine targets the synaptic dysfunction, which is thought to be the cause of depression.
Most research has been done with a single dose of Ketamine, and currently some more trials are ongoing to confirm if Ketamine could be a treatment option for severe refractory depression.