San Diego—Depression was reported half as often among more than 41,000 patients who took ketamine, as compared to patients who took any other drug or drug combination for pain, according to a study published in the journal Science Reports. This was the first large clinical trial involving ketamine, which is more commonly used as an anesthetic. The compound, which also is abused as an illicit hallucinogenic drug, has long been suspected of lowering the likelihood of depression. Researchers from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California searched the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database for depression symptoms in patients taking ketamine for pain. Results indicate that patients who took ketamine also less frequently reported pain and opioid-associated side effects, such as constipation, versus patients receiving other pain medications.

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