A recent clinical trial conducted by the National Institute of Health found that an experimental drug, called AZD6765, may be able to treat depression symptoms within minutes, whereas most current prescription anti-depressants take weeks to have an effect. The study was published Dec. 3 in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Researchers used a 10-question survey to assess how severely depressed people, who hadn’t responded to other treatments, reacted to the drug.
AZD6765 works in a similar manner to ketamine (another experimental drug being used to treat depression), but with much fewer side-effects. These drugs work through different pathways than traditional anti-depressant drugs.
One problem with AZD6765 is that its effects lasted for only a short period of time and didn’t work with all patients, though as a whole the effect was significant.
About 32 per cent of 22 treatment-resistant depressed patients infused with ASD6765 showed a clinically meaningful antidepressant response at 80 minutes after infusion that lasted for about half an hour — with residual antidepressant effects lasting two days for some. By contrast, 52 per cent of patients receiving ketamine show a comparable response, with effects still detectable at seven days. So a single infusion of ketamine produces more robust and sustained improvement, but most patients continue to experience some symptoms with both drugs.