Ketamine and Therapy May Help Alcoholics “Stay Out of Binge Drinking Longer”, Clinical Trial Finds | UK News

People treated for alcoholism were able to stay away from heavy drinking longer with ketamine and psychological therapy, “extremely encouraging” clinical trial results have shown.

The research is the first of its kind to examine whether a low dose of ketamine combined with therapy could be introduced as an “effective” treatment.

Currently, there are few ways to treat alcoholism, but the authors said the Ketamine for Reduction of Alcohol Relapse (KARE) trial showed benefits that were still visible six months later.

Led by the University of Exeter and funded by the Medical Research Council, the work could now see further trials involving more people.

“Alcoholism can destroy lives”

Aesthetic ketamine is a medical treatment used for pain relief and sedation in humans and animals – while its illicit recreational use is popular for its hallucinogenic properties.

Lead author Professor Celia Morgan, University of Exeter, said: “Alcohol can destroy lives, and there is an urgent need for new ways to help people reduce their consumption.

“We have found that low, controlled doses of ketamine combined with psychological therapy can help people stay off alcohol for longer than a placebo.

“This is extremely encouraging, as we normally see three in four people revert to binge drinking within six months of stopping alcohol, so this result represents a big improvement.”

Published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the study looked at 96 people with alcohol problems and abstinent at the time of the trial.

The team found that people who received ketamine in combination with treatment remained completely sober for 162 out of 180 days during the six-month follow-up period, representing 87 percent of abstinence.

This group was more than twice as likely to stay sober at the end of the trial than those taking placebo.

“We now need a bigger trial”

The team also found evidence that ketamine and therapy can prevent all alcohol consumption for six months, although the results are “more mixed.”

Professor Morgan said: “We now have an early signal that this treatment is working. We now need a larger trial to see if we can confirm these effects.

“We are certainly not advocating taking ketamine outside of a clinical setting. Street drugs have obvious risks, and it is the combination of a low dose of ketamine and appropriate psychological therapy that is. key, as is the expertise and support of clinical staff.

“This combination showed benefits that were still seen six months later, in a group of people for whom many existing treatments just don’t work.”

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