sábado, 7 de diciembre de 2013
Lo Ke se nos viene es...K
Recent experimental research showing that the anesthetic and club drug ketamine can relieve depression quickly has intrigued a number of major pharmaceutical companies. Depression, it goes without saying, affects huge numbers and a fundamentally new and effective pharmaceutical approach to treating the disorder hasn’t emerged in decades.
The enthusiasm for ketamine is such that physicians, often working out of small clinics, have already started prescribing low doses of the generic anesthetic off-label for fast relief of le cafard—and drug companies are contemplating whether to get into the act by creating new drugs based on ketamine’s biochemistry.
A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary in Europe has gone as far as midstage clinical trials for a ketamine nasal spray. The trial there uses a slightly altered version of ketamine (esketamine, the “s” isomer for techies), which omits part of the molecule and leaves the most pharmacologically active portion in place, enabling less of the compound to be administered. “You can get away with a 30 to 40 percent lower dose,” says Husseini Manji who leads neuroscience research at Johnson & Johnson.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has put Johnson & Johnson’s version of esketamine on a fast track for approval, although, even if all goes well, patients may still have to wait a years to get a script. Esketamine, already used as an anesthetic in Europe, is not the only idea on the table. Ketamine appears to work (details still coming in from labs) by blocking a docking site, or receptor, on a neuron—in this case a spot where the essential signaling molecule glutamate attaches. The blockade triggers a complex chemical cascade that ends up restoring an impaired neuron’s ability to communicate with other brain cells. (Más)