PARTY drug Ketamine could be used to treat depression by doctors in the UK by the end of the year.
Esketemine – which comes in the form of a nasal spray – could be approved for use in November and is said to ease depression symptoms ‘in a matter of hours’.
The drug is already sold in the US under the brand name Spravato.
The Guardian reports patients in the UK would spend two hours under supervision after taking the drug to watch for side-effects.
Critics have slammed the treatment as an ‘over-hyped rip-off’ which can trigger hallucinations, dizziness and anxiety.
Professor Alan Young, director of the centre for affective disorders at King’s College London, told The Guardian: “It’s got a different pharmacology. It’s not just the same old steam engine; it seems to work more quickly.”
DRUG COULD BE AVAILABLE ON NHS
The drug works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which creates feelings of well-being and happiness.
Anti-depressant drugs usually take up to eight weeks to have any effect. But the nasal spray is said to be effective within hours.
The European Medicines Agency and the UK health regulator will make a decision in November.
If approved it would become available in private clinics and a separate decision on whether to make it available on the NHS would come in March next year.
The drug is less powerful form of Ketamine, which is used by doctors and vets as a painkiller and tranquiliser.
It is also illegally used by partygoers and is currently a Class B drug in the UK.
Ketamine creates a trance-like, relaxed feeling among users and is estimated to have been taken by more than 140,000 in Britain in the last year.
But side effects include chronic bladder damage and heart problems.