Ex-alcoholics wanted for ketamine drug trial

Exeposé News online (16 July 2016)

The University could be after you – and 95 others like you – to take part in an upcoming drug trial.

Severe alcoholism affects almost 4 million people in the UK – and ‘Ketamine for reduction of Alcoholic Relapse’ (KARE) is currently recruiting 96 volunteers to trial a drug which could help ex-alcoholics stay on the wagon.

Ketamine – a powerful anaesthetic used in humans and animals – has become notorious in recent years as a dangerous party and date-rape drug.

But in controlled conditions, the drug is safe and nonaddictive -and recent studies in mice have suggested ketamine could encourage new neural connections, improving the effectiveness of psychological therapy for alcoholism.

In the trial, participants will be given low dose injections of ketamine for three weeks, alongside psychological therapy – a combination found in a pilot study to reduce average 12-month relapse rates by more than 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, a control group will be given injections of a saline solution alongside the therapy. All volunteers will receive necessary travel expenses.

Participants will then be required to wear a device on their ankle for six months, monitoring alcohol intake.

Led by Celia Morgan, Professor of Psychopharmacology, Exeter’s team will work with researchers at University College London and Imperial College London on this multi-site trial.

“Previous research has told us that ketamine is a well-tolerated drug and can help alleviate the symptoms of depression, with a pilot study suggesting that it could cut alcohol relapse rates by more than half,” Morgan said.

“This trial will allow us to examine whether ketamine, combined with therapy, can indeed help people stay abstinent from alcohol.”

For more information on the study and how to take part, visit the KARE website.

(Image: Coaster420 via Wikimedia Commons)

>>View original Exeposé News story>>

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