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posted by mrpg on Wednesday July 04 2018, @06:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the smoking-is-bad dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

"Leon" is a young Brazilian man who has long struggled with depression. He keeps an anonymous blog, in Portuguese, where he describes the challenge of living with a mental illness that affects some 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Leon is among the roughly 30 percent of those patients with treatment-resistant depression. Available antidepressant drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors do not alleviate his depressed mood, fatigue, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.

A new study may offer hope for Leon and others like him.

Our team of Brazilian scientists has conducted the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of ayahuasca – a psychedelic drink made of Amazonian plants. The results, recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine, suggest that ayahuasca can work for hard-to-treat depression.

Source: Amazonian psychedelic may ease severe depression, new study shows


Original Submission

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Of the 16 million American adults who live with depression, as many as one-quarter gain little or no benefit from available treatments, whether drugs or talk therapy. They represent perhaps the greatest unmet need in psychiatry. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription treatment intended to help them, a fast-acting drug derived from an old and widely used anesthetic, ketamine.

The move heralds a shift from the Prozac era of antidepressant drugs. The newly approved treatment, called esketamine, is a nasal spray developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a branch of Johnson & Johnson, that will be marketed under the name Spravato. It contains an active portion of the ketamine molecule, whose antidepressant properties are not well understood yet. "Thank goodness we now have something with a different mechanism of action than previous antidepressants," said Dr. Erick Turner, a former F.D.A. reviewer and an associate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. "But I'm skeptical of the hype, because in this world it's like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown: Each time we get our hopes up, the football gets pulled away."

[...] Esketamine, like ketamine, has the potential for abuse, and both drugs can induce psychotic episodes in people who are at high risk for them. The safety monitoring will require doctors to find space for treated patients, which could present a logistical challenge, some psychiatrists said.

The wholesale cost for a course of treatment will be between $2,360 and $3,540, said Janssen, and experts said it will give the company a foothold in the $12 billion global antidepressant market, where most drugs now are generic.

[...] One question that will need to be answered is how well esketamine performs in comparison to intravenous ketamine.

Also at STAT News, Reuters, and NPR.

Previously: Ketamine Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Depressed Patients
Studies Identify How Ketamine Can Reverse Symptoms of Depression
Ketamine Shows Promise as a Fast-Acting Treatment for Depression

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @06:34AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @06:34AM (#702399)

    Another name for Ayahuasca is yagé, pronounced yah-hay (sometimes written as yahe).
    Back in 1982, integrative medicine guy [drweil.com] Andrew Weil MD [timeinc.net] did a 1 hour and 45 minute presentation called "The Use and Abuse of Beneficial Plants" in which, using a slide show, he describes his trip to South America in search of folks doing that stuff.

    In January 2018, once again, Roy Tuckman (Roy of Hollywood) featured a recording of that on his midnight-to-6AM KPFA program "Something's Happening".

    Weil noted that a typical part of the use of the drug is puking.
    TFA mentions that fact and that they induced that side effect in the control group in their studies.

    .
    About the source page: I really dislike the way TheConversation uses vertical space on their pages.
    As an example, in the Authors area they put the person's name but don't put his credentials/affiliations on the same line.
    They don't even do a simple linefeed; they make that stuff a new paragraph.
    Stupid page building.

    Social media crap also irritates me, especially when it eats up vertical space.

    Protip: Anything you're thinking about putting between the page title and the start of the content that doesn't add directly to the understanding of the topic needs to be somewhere else.

    Oh, and if the very first thing on your page isn't the headline, then the very first on your page should be a Skip to Content link.
    Most folks aren't even slightly interested in your self-promotion and/or site navigation bullshit.

    -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:05AM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:05AM (#702410) Journal

      Invest in a mouse with a scroll wheel that glides, and you will be wasting mere milliseconds with this vertical space problem.

      One of the primary active components of ayahuasca [wikipedia.org] is DMT. Unlike the ~10 minute "businessman's trip" that you get by smoking or injecting DMT, ayahuasca lasts longer but is said to have milder effects. It seems that an IV drip of DMT [vice.com] could mimic this experience, probably with less vomiting too. That delivery method could cut down on the ayahuasca tourism if it ever catches on.

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      • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:19AM (2 children)

        by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:19AM (#702420)

        I dunno - it sounds like we're assuming that the puking is a symptom and not the 'active ingredient' in the cure.

        I propose a study the examine the effect of regular vomiting against depression. I suspect that you could easily find your participants (and the chemical means) in any college fraternity...

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:40AM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:40AM (#702425) Journal

          There are several psychedelic substances that have been investigated for depression treatment, including ketamine [soylentnews.org] (approval could be imminent [soylentnews.org]), psilocybin [soylentnews.org], MDMA [maps.org], LSD [jneurosci.org], mescaline/peyote [discovermagazine.com], etc. These substances could also help people to laugh at bad jokes.

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        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:49AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:49AM (#702500)

          Sometimes a side effect is just a side effect, in this case they're related, but I would hope that the study shows a stronger depression reduction response for ayahuasca than for their ipecac control group.

          Vomiting involves strong stimulation of the vagus, and apparently bulimia is (for many sufferers) an addiction to this stimulation - one which can be replaced with electrical stimulation of the vagus [eurekalert.org].

          There has been a lot of study (and application) of VNS as a treatment for depression [webmd.com] - if that's what you're looking for, I'd suggest going the electro-stim route rather than washing your upper GI tract with stomach acid on a regular basis.

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    • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday July 05 2018, @02:04AM

      by legont (4179) on Thursday July 05 2018, @02:04AM (#702793)

      Sting describes it well in his memoirs https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Music-Memoir-Sting/dp/0385338651 [amazon.com] and some interviews.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by bitstream on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:32AM (7 children)

    by bitstream (6144) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:32AM (#702422) Journal

    This (DMT?) will be outlawed and regulated once Big Pharma gets hold of it. And if they can't profit from it. It will be outlawed and lot's of ad will tell people that anyone even sniffing it will turn into a devil.

    CBD seems to relieve pain for some patients in a efficient manner. Not good for Pharma.

    LSD seems to resolve mental issues for some. Not good for Pharma.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:43AM (5 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:43AM (#702427) Journal

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca#Legal_status [wikipedia.org]

      The cultivation of plants from which psychotropic substances are obtained is not controlled by the Vienna Convention. . . . Neither the crown (fruit, mescal button) of the Peyote cactus nor the roots of the plant Mimosa hostilis nor Psilocybe mushrooms themselves are included in Schedule 1, but only their respective principals, mescaline, DMT, and psilocin.

      A fax from the Secretary of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to the Netherlands Ministry of Public Health sent in 2001 goes on to state that "Consequently, preparations (e.g. decoctions) made of these plants, including ayahuasca, are not under international control and, therefore, not subject to any of the articles of the 1971 Convention."

      Despite the INCB's 2001 affirmation that ayahuasca is not subject to drug control by international convention, in its 2010 Annual Report the Board recommended that governments consider controlling (i.e. criminalizing) ayahuasca at the national level. This recommendation by the INCB has been criticized as an attempt by the Board to overstep its legitimate mandate and as establishing a reason for governments to violate the human rights (i.e., religious freedom) of ceremonial ayahuasca drinkers.

      The legal status in the United States of DMT-containing plants is somewhat questionable. Ayahuasca plants and preparations are legal, as they contain no scheduled chemicals. However, brews made using DMT containing plants are illegal since DMT is a Schedule I drug. That said, some people are challenging this, using arguments similar to those used by peyotist religious sects, such as the Native American Church. A court case allowing the União do Vegetal to import and use the tea for religious purposes in the United States, Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 1, 2005; the decision, released February 21, 2006, allows the UDV to use the tea in its ceremonies pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In a similar case an Ashland, Oregon-based Santo Daime church sued for their right to import and consume ayahuasca tea. In March 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Panner ruled in favor of the Santo Daime, acknowledging its protection from prosecution under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

      Let's see conservatives make a stand for religious freedom as Big Pharma tries to eliminate religious exemptions for ceremonial drug use?

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:05AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:05AM (#702431)

        You seem to be mistaken, it is not the religion of the conservatives that allow for it, no conflicts there.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:17AM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:17AM (#702435) Journal

          Just a "funny" joke added after a long blockquote.

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          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Arik on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:23AM

            by Arik (4543) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:23AM (#702440) Journal
            That's not really a joke. The Revelation of St John the 'shroom 'ead is a pretty key text of Christianity. Made it into the Canon and all that.
            --
            If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:54AM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:54AM (#702502)

        The legal status in the United States of DMT-containing plants is somewhat questionable.

        And that's the way law enforcement likes it: don't get it clearly defined black or white, if it falls on the legal side then it's no longer an excuse for arrest. As long as it's grey, they can completely screw up people's lives over it without ever having to go to trial.

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    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:51AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @11:51AM (#702501)

      +1 Paranoid truth.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:36AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04 2018, @07:36AM (#702424)

    What happens when you stop taking it?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:09AM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:09AM (#702434) Journal

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/2127802-psychedelic-drug-ayahuasca-improves-hard-to-treat-depression/ [newscientist.com]

      A day before their dose, the participants filled in standard questionnaires to rate their depression. The next day, they spent 8 hours in a quiet, supervised environment, where they received either the placebo or the potion, which produces hallucinogenic effects for around 4 hours. They then repeated filling in the questionnaires one, two and seven days later.

      Both groups reported substantial improvements one and two days after the treatment, with placebo scores often as high as those of people who had taken the drug. In trials of new antidepressant drugs, it is common for as many as 40 per cent of participants to respond positively to placebos, says de Araújo.

      But a week into this trial, 64 per cent of people who had taken ayahuasca felt the severity of their depression reduce by 50 per cent or more. This was true for only 27 per cent of those who drank the placebo.

      Similar psychedelics [soylentnews.org] also show benefits that can last for weeks or months following a single treatment.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca#Effects [wikipedia.org]

      The ingestion of ayahuasca can also cause significant, but temporary, emotional and psychological distress. Excessive use could possibly lead to serotonin syndrome (although serotonin syndrome has never been specifically caused by Ayahuasca, only if in conjunction with certain anti-depressants like SSRI's). The temporary non-entheogenic effects of Ayahuasca can, depending on dosage, include tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, autonomic instability, hyperthermia, sweating, motor function impairment, sedation, relaxation, vertigo, dizziness, and muscle spasms, which are primarily caused by the Harmala alkaloids in Ayahuasca. Long-term negative effects are not known.

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    • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Wednesday July 04 2018, @04:53PM

      by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @04:53PM (#702612)

      Nothing. You'll only do it once. I've heard it's not an experience most people will be eager to repeat.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Arik on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:17AM (7 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:17AM (#702436) Journal
    We live in a world where hundreds of millions of tons of food is discarded as waste, while hundreds of millions of people suffer from malnutrition. And it's actually worse than it sounds. We have extremely inexpensive transportation, we have many means of preservation, and we ship food long distance routinely. So transport cost is not the problem. Sometimes the people starving are within walking distance of the rotting food. Think about that.

    We belong to a race that has clawed our way from dinosaur dung-heaps to stepping on the moon, yet still spends the lions share of its "scientific" output researching more advanced weapons with which to kill others of our own kind in larger numbers and more quickly. If you are a young scientist who wants to help people, your most likely path forward is to develop a new weapon which will kill your fellow men in unprecedented numbers - because that's what gets the funding. Then quietly divert some of the funding to research peaceful applications for your weapons tech. Think about that.

    We belong to a race that developed digital computers many decades ago - but has yet to progress past the stage of using them to make mistakes ever more quickly. Instead of developing a solid framework and a set of programs within it which solve our programs and can be guaranteed to do nothing else, we have reinvented the wheel over and over and over again, each time with more layers of indirection, of abstraction, and of monetization; of dehumanization. We've done several times the work needed to progress to the next level here; yet virtually none of it counts towards the goal. As our abilities with hardware have progressed, our abilities with programming have in effect gone negative. Think about that.

    We belong to a race that shows every sign of impending still-birth, one primed to eliminate itself before it even leaves the gravity-well, let alone the solar system or the galaxy; and at any rate one set to have a very nasty period of time ahead of it even if it manages to somehow survive the next century. Think about that.

    Anyone who lives in such a world, as such a creature, and does not find themselves sometimes thoroughly depressed; such a person would be truly insane.

    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:37AM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:37AM (#702449) Journal

      Headline says "ease", not "cure".

      There Are 200 Million Fewer Hungry People Than 25 Years Ago [npr.org]

      We have made it out of the gravity well. It happened in '69.

      Pretty much everything in your comment is a matter of opinion or framed in a "cup half empty" way. But that is what happens when you comment while depressed.

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      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Wednesday July 04 2018, @09:53AM (2 children)

        by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @09:53AM (#702471) Homepage Journal

        Yes. Arik put it very well but you're right it's the "cup half empty" view of things. I've heard that so called mind expanding substances could help someone to notice many other possible ways of viewing what's in the cup. So you'd get the "cup half full" but also probably a whole load of things you never would have realised were hiding away inside folds of the cup to begin with! And if you could redefine your own place in it all, that could help too. We get depressed about our external environment because we're a part of that environment and because of how we interact with it and the ways in which we are responsible for it.

        --
        Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
        • (Score: 2) by ewk on Wednesday July 04 2018, @01:07PM (1 child)

          by ewk (5923) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @01:07PM (#702526)

          cup half full... cup half empty...

          To me it just seems you guys have too much cup :-)

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          • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Wednesday July 04 2018, @01:47PM

            by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @01:47PM (#702536) Homepage Journal

            Ah but a bigger cup makes it look like you can take more liquor. No-one knows you only ordered half -- you could have already drunk it!

            --
            Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Wednesday July 04 2018, @03:49PM

        by Arik (4543) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @03:49PM (#702580) Journal
        "We have made it out of the gravity well. It happened in '69."

        Two individuals briefly slipped, not out of the gravity well, but over the rim and over onto the lunar side of it at least, for a brief time, then they came back. A handful of individuals made that trip after. IIRC no one's even done that since ~72. And no one's gone any further, not even for a brief trip, let alone to settle.

        So no, our race has not yet made it out of the gravity well, not in any sense.

        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bitstream on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:51AM (1 child)

      by bitstream (6144) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @08:51AM (#702455) Journal

      I think DSM-5 (the manual or shrinks) pretty much diagnose any human condition as sickness. And sickness needs Pharma.. Pr0fit!

      Got their core story right there. Besides, most psychmeds is more or less like squirting sausage on a motor and hope it works.. eventually. Hopefully without wrecking it in the process..

      Some meds are useful. But they are usually phases out because.. no patents, no profit etc. Also don't miss to see the pattern on who owns Pharma.

      • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Thursday July 05 2018, @10:56AM

        by bitstream (6144) on Thursday July 05 2018, @10:56AM (#702916) Journal

        Another point. Drugged population = controlled population.

        Happy regardless of slavery setup..

  • (Score: 2) by crafoo on Wednesday July 04 2018, @04:55PM

    by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday July 04 2018, @04:55PM (#702615)

    I've heard DMT is a hell of a drug. The lack of research on it and most other psychedelics has probably set back how well we understand the brain and the subconscious a few decades.

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