Ketamine: The Party Drug Turned Mental Health “Cure”

Proliferation of Bogus Cure Clinics How Ketamine is Being Misused for Illnesses

Clinics selling fake ketamine cures

News Picture: Many Clinics Are Selling Ketamine as Bogus ‘Cure’ for Illnesses

The world of medicine is full of surprises. Take ketamine, for example. Initially used as a party drug and anesthetic, this little compound is now showing potential as a treatment for depression. Exciting, right? But hold on, because there’s a twist.

Recent research suggests that hundreds of U.S. clinics might be misleading consumers by promoting the off-label and unapproved use of ketamine for various mental health and pain conditions. It turns out that these treatments are not only pricey, but the evidence backing up their effectiveness is often sketchy. It’s like buying an expensive tea that promises happiness and eternal youth, but it’s actually just watered-down Kool-Aid.

“These are expensive treatments for which patients generally must pay out of pocket, and the evidence base is often not robust for many of the advertised uses,” says Michael DiStefano, the assistant professor from Colorado University’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

In a study published in the prestigious journal JAMA Network Open, researchers uncovered a shocking truth: ketamine delivered intravenously is not yet approved by the FDA to treat any mental health condition. However, it is sometimes used off-label for that purpose. So, it’s like being given a high-end steak knife to use as a spoon, because why not?

To make matters worse, the researchers found that ketamine in pill form isn’t approved to treat anything either. Yet, some sly advertisers are promoting it as a way to have a trippy experience at home. It’s like selling a box of crayons as a cutting-edge art studio.

But wait, that’s not all! The researchers dug deeper and identified 17 advertisers promoting infusions or ketamine-assisted therapy across 26 locations in good ol’ Maryland. These clinics claim to treat a wide range of conditions, from depression and PTSD to anxiety and chronic pain. It’s like going to a store for a pair of sneakers and walking out with a full set of kitchen knives.

Oh, and did we mention that the advertising for these treatments is full of misleading information? Yeah, it’s like being promised a magical unicorn that grants wishes, but instead, you get a slightly overweight donkey with a glued-on horn.

If you think these misleading clinics are limited to Maryland, think again. The researchers estimate that there are roughly 800 similar clinics across the United States. They’re spreading like dandelions on a sunny day, and if that’s not enough, there are even companies willing to mail you oral ketamine. So now you can have your ketamine and your mailman involved too.

While there’s no denying that psychedelic and hallucinogenic substances are gaining recognition as potential mental health treatments, it’s vital to be transparent and accurate about the risks and benefits. Sure, treatments like ketamine can offer hope and help some patients, but there are real risks, especially over the long-term. It’s like owning a pet tiger – thrilling, until it starts purring a little too close to your face.

In conclusion, always be cautious when considering new treatments, especially ones that promise the moon and stars but come with a hefty price tag and questionable evidence. Remember that your mental health is of utmost importance. So, do your research, consult trusted professionals, and don’t forget to ask for an accurate and balanced assessment of the potential risks and benefits.

More information Want to dive deeper into the world of ketamine? Visit the Cleveland Clinic for more.

Source: JAMA Network Open, Nov. 7, 2023; University of Colorado, news release, Nov. 7, 2023

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