The Ketamine Consensus?

By Neuroskeptic | June 4, 2017 6:22 am

Ten years ago, ketamine was a drug best known for its popularity on the rave scene. Yet it has since enjoyed a remarkable rebirth – as an antidepressant. Starting out with a handful of small clinical trials, there are now numerous reports that ketamine produces rapid antidepressant effects. In the US, various clinics have sprung up offering ketamine treatment to depressed patients – at least the ones able to pay the bill, because insurance doesn’t tend to cover it.

Now, a group of psychiatrists from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has put together A Consensus Statement on the Use of Ketamine in the Treatment of Mood Disorders in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

ketamine_apa

Let’s look at the authors list first. Lead author Gerard Sanacora is a veteran ketamine researcher, an author on one of the first ketamine-antidepressant papers. At #2 we have Mark A . Frye, who regular readers might remember from this post in 2015. Then in the senior author position, we have perhaps the world’s most notorious psychiatrist outside of fiction: Charles “Paxil” Nemeroff.

What justifies Nemeroff being an author is unclear because he has never published original research on the drug, although this is his fourth “opinion piece” on the topic.  The other authors are mostly ketamine researchers. Notable by his absence, however, is Carlos A. Zarate, who led the pioneering early ketamine clinical trials.

The authors wrote on behalf of the APA ‘Council of Research Task Force on Novel Biomarkers and Treatments’, but they stress that the piece is not “endorsed or promulgated as policy of the APA.” and that it’s not a “standard, guideline, clinical policy, or absolute requirement.” In other words, ketamine clinics and prescribers are under no obligation to comply.

So what does the consensus statement say?

It’s a pretty brief document and it contains few surprises. The statement says that ketamine is probably helpful in depression, but the effects are short-lived. Regular repeated treatment (twice per week) may help extend the effect, but there’s little good data on this.

In terms of safety, the authors say that few serious side effects of ketamine in depression have been reported so far. Nonetheless, to ensure safety, they recommend that ketamine should only be administered by trained medical personnel in a facility with at least basic medical equipment. The authors warn against the idea of giving patients ketamine to take at home.

Overall, the consensus statement seems eminently sensible. But I’m still a little worried. My concern is not with the content of the statement, but with the very fact of its existence.

I suspect that ketamine clinics and other prescribers will be pleased to see this document because it represents official recognition that ketamine is a bona fide, albeit experimental, treatment. This may not be official APA guidelines, but this is still a document of guidance and it’s from the APA. So while Sanacora et al. don’t recommend ketamine as such, they legitimize it.

This is a concern to me because I have long-standing, nagging doubts over the evidence suggesting that ketamine is an antidepressant (my posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). In a nutshell, in my view it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that much or all of the apparent benefit is due to the placebo effect.

That said, if people want to try ketamine, and they can afford it, I say go for it. I hope it does work. I’m a depression sufferer myself and I’d consider it if I were depressed in future. However, I would consider it on the grounds of “sounds interesting, can’t hurt”, rather than because it’s an evidence-based treatment that’s been proven to work. My concern here is that Sanacora et al.’s consensus statement may create the impression of a solid evidence base when, in my view, the evidence is built on wobbly foundations.

HT: @BZarebad

ResearchBlogging.orgSanacora, G., Frye, M., McDonald, W., Mathew, S., Turner, M., Schatzberg, A., Summergrad, P., Nemeroff, C., for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council of Research Task Force on Novel Biomarkers and Treatments (2017). A Consensus Statement on the Use of Ketamine in the Treatment of Mood Disorders JAMA Psychiatry, 74 (4) DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0080

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Pharma’s goals are to treat (chronic) not cure (finite), under patent (monopoly), at 1000 – 10,000% profit disgorged by mandatory healthcare (another semantic ripoff) insurance. Buy it in Mexico for “compassionate” cost.

    Ketamine (marijuana, anything else) is in vast use for decades. Do it in application, or do not. End stupid leviathan bureaucracies of the vicious coercive state.

    • grove01

      True. Pharma is mostly concerned with profits. My understanding is that clinics in Australia charge $150/treatment. In the US, the range seems to be $700 to $2000 per treatment. Is there any wonder that Ketamine “treatment centers” are springing up all over the country.
      The greed factor is gross.

      • OWilson

        All peoples, from all societies, use mind altering substances, whether “sick” or not. Long before there was a Big Pharma.

        It’s a huge market out there. You can’t really blame the manufacturers.

        The trick is to determine who medically needs it, who is addicted to it, and who just enjoys it. We shouldn’t expect doctors to always get it right.

        For reasons explained here some time ago, I permanently escaped the clutches of my local pill pusher over 40 years ago, and never looked back!

        Aside from the occasional social Guinness, that is! :)

      • Marshall Gill

        Because “Big Pharma” is made up of Klingons? You once met someone who worked for “Big Pharma” and they were mean to you so they must hate human life?

        Cures produce profits. If Merck could “cure” cancer they could sell the cure to every single person who ever got cancer and they could sell trillions of dollars of almost anything with the label “from the people who cured cancer”.

        Pretending that they withhold cures which would save children for profit is almost certainly nothing more than projection.

        The same people who think that “Big Pharma” wouldn’t cure you if they could seem to believe that parasitical politicians care about them. Simply bizarre.

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          It’s a complex issue, especially in the case of ketamine because ketamine is an old drug, off-patent so no pharma company can make much money from selling ketamine. The drug itself is very cheap.

          Clinics however can charge whatever they like to administer ketamine, because there are only a small number of clinics so there’s not much competition (yet).

          • Marshall Gill

            I don’t deny that there may not be any incentives for pharmaceutical companies to produce ketamine. At this point, is isn’t exactly a “cure”, it doesn’t seem. It certainly isn’t a case of Dr. Evil at MegaCorp hiding cures so that they can produce profits. Have those who can wreck your business for selling it give the OK, and watch how fast “Big Pharma” produces. The negative incentives of vast class action lawsuits do exist.

          • Maia

            Many of us have had extremely negative experiences with “Phama” forces that make it more than clear that healing is not their primary motive, profit is. Is it any wonder these corporations don’t inspire trust? How could it be otherwise? Off patent and non-patentable medications are often perfectly good or better than new ones, but they are not profit-makers, so they get dropped or buried. Again, the lack of trust is quite reasonable.

          • stmccrea

            As far as class action lawsuits go, a 1 billion dollar settlement seems aversive, until you realize that they made 40 billion off of the drug before they got busted.

          • Maia

            Right. There’s actually a formula for figuring out how high your profits have to be to cover the law suits likely over death and injury. At certain points, profit-wise, it’s worth it to some companies to just pay the settlements.

          • Marshall Gill

            You have no idea of the ratio of class action settlements to profits. You made that number up. Envy is evil.

          • stmccrea

            Actually, I do, because there are internal memos from more than one lawsuit that show they intentionally calculate about that. I believe the Viiox one was the one I read, but there is plenty of evidence that these fines are very small compared to the profits. And Viiox was a HUGE settlement compared to what they are normally assessed.

            https://trello.com/c/loEfpKdC/2-how-much-did-merck-co-make-in-profits-compared-to-what-they-lost-in-vioxx-settlements

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

          I worked in human implantables, materials and processes, Implanting a basic intraocular lens (IOL) to replace a cataract natural lens is about $5000/eye. You can be hyped up to about $10,000/eye for an “advanced” IOL that does little more and sometimes much less.

          10 mg of lanosterol dispersed in 5 ml of eye drops, one drop in each eye immediately before retiring, will within 45 – 60 days uncrystallize the cataract back to transparency. This is a cure (diabetic cataract mileage may vary). Cost to manufacture is maybe $10.bottle, $100 to buy. VETERINARY USE ONLY (beyond FDA reach).

          DOI:10.1038/nature14650
          …Two dozen researchers got reamed, steamed, and dry-cleaned for reporting it. The Deep State wants its money – which is to say, your money.

        • stmccrea

          They do withhold cures to make profits. Have you not heard of the Epi-pen scandal? That’s one of many, many examples. Did you know that concerns about suicidality and aggression being brought on in a small number by Prozac was known in 1987, and that it was banned in Germany for a while (I think in Italy as well) for that reason? Why did it take until 2002 for Big Pharma to admit that? How many people died avoidably due to Viiox? If you think Big Pharma is about cures, you’re delusional. They care about profits first, and if anything comes about (like exercise for depression, for instance) that actually leads to permanent improvement, you can bet they’ll do all they can to undermine it.

    • jhewitt123

      John Lilly, Mr. Ketamine, told us all we need to know about ketamine decades ago in his books, fools of modern science ignore history at their peril

  • Erik Bosma

    Isn’t that why most addicts, including alcoholics, use their drugs… because they feel like crap inside, in other words, depressed? So let’s just legalize and control most drugs and people that are hurting will know themselves what works and what doesn’t. Pity the pharmaceutical nazis.

    • Erik Bosma

      Oh, I forgot…. we’re already doing that with alcohol. And now pot is starting to become acceptable – finally. By the way, I don’t use any drugs myself, including alcohol.

      • MMA-Miami Rocks

        “By the way, I don’t use any drugs myself, including alcohol.”

        You should ask your psychiatrist to prescribe some soon. At a minimum it, it couldn’t hurt…

        • Erik Bosma

          Nope, I was just expressing my neutrality. I would think that opinions can be vary greatly depending on the level of drug use of the poster.

          • MMA-Miami Rocks

            and the level of ignorance e.g. you.

    • reasonsformoving

      “people that are hurting will know themselves what works and what doesn’t.”

      What an incredibly juvenile thing to say. Yes, all of those drug addicts out there know what works and what doesn’t. They’re lives are going just great.

      • Erik Bosma

        So you agree with me but had to find a way to hurt my feelings anyway. Perhaps you didn’t understand what I said, so the best response would have been none at all. Or, ask for some clarification. That would have been the ‘adult’ thing to say.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        I think it’s a bit of both. Maybe addicts use substances because they do make them better in the short term, even though it’s harmful in the long term.

        • Erik Bosma

          That’s correct. Many addicts only see as far as their next fix. Otherwise it would be like a normal person thinking about death every day. So as long as you’re high; everything’s cool. F*ck tomorrow. It will take care of itself. Something’ll turn up.

    • Maia

      Some are capable of leading to physical addiction syndrome and some not. Important difference.

      • Erik Bosma

        That’s what I meant.

      • Erik Bosma

        Some drugs make a person into an addict in less than a week – no exceptions. I’m talking about opiates esp. heroin, morphine, etc. (First time I did heroin I was hooked for life.)
        Some can be used sparingly, like just weekends. For example wine, pot, ecstasy, etc. (However if these folks are tracked after they get older when most of theiir family and friends are gone, you’ll find that the drug they used now becomes their best friend and they begin to use again until they’re using every day and then do not want to stop.) And some people use drugs just as a social thing and do the drugs mainly because of peer pressure. Once they have a life of their own, kids, husband, etc. they will all mostly stop and never begin again. Of course their are some outliers.
        And the last group of persons who use drugs do so because their doctor told them too. They have a temporary anxiety incident, go to the doctor’s who gives them benzos or phenobarbital and the prescription never ends. Dr. says,” If I cut her off now she could DIE!” Which is probably true because he should have cut her off after the first week. These are our seniors and disabled. Hopelessly addicted to a drug they haven’t needed for 30 years but liking how it makes them feel and a doctor without a spine. Just hang around a pharmacy for awhile and you’ll see that this group is by far our largest group of addicts.
        Sorry for the length but this is all written from direct experience – talking to pharmacists, to seniors and by being an active drug user for 30 years and seeing it all first hand.

        • Maia

          There’s no way you could have gotten access to enough detailed information to back up your opinions here.

          • Erik Bosma

            20 years of active addiction; 20 years of going to NA meetings talking to 1000’s of other addicts; 15 years of being back on methadone (a moment of weakness but better than being on the street) and talking to addicts coming in from the street, going back out and talking to hundreds of pharmacists. Yeah, you pick up a lot of stuff. May even write a book about it yet.

          • Maia

            I respect your experience! I just don’t feel it’s absolute…since others’ have very different experiences and I respect those, too.
            Yes, it would be great if you wrote a book about all you’ve learned!

          • Erik Bosma

            Of course, I could never be so arrogant as to believe that I see all and know all like some old guru. I understand Statistics and the importance of the Sample Size. But I also know that many people are very similar to each other so one person’s story is usually also quite similar to another’s with the same or very similar background and worldview. So once I’ve heard the main stories or seen the same actions many many times I can make some conclusions. After that I just take in all the outliers (gotta love those outliers) and then come up with what I can with what I got. If the survey lasts for a long enough time and includes enough mixed people’s it’s not too difficult to come up with something resembling real life. And always include those outliers.

          • Erik Bosma

            That’s a lot more than you get from most who watch a few movies and read a couple of blogs and DO think they know it all.

          • Maia

            Agreed.

          • Maia

            Yes, my “method” is similar to yours. But I’ve always been an” outlier” myself in most life-situations, which has been hard in many ways, but helpful too because I am constantly reminded that the odd cases are so important to keep in mind. From them we can learn things that get buried otherwise. We all want to find ways to make sense of life, to see patterns, guidelines. But…it seems equally important to remember there is pretty much never anything like uniformity when its life-forms and behaviors we are talking about!

            Wish you well with your book project. As a writer, I know how difficult and how rewarding it can be to take on and complete such a large piece of work.

          • Erik Bosma

            Thank you. The worst (best, actually) part of my journey will be going back down to the drags I left in the 1970’s on E. Hastings to interview anyone who has enough Attention Span to be interviewed – might cost me the price of a quarter ounce. Hope not though because you don’t get honest answers for money usually only short stories just to get that bait in their arms. We’ll see how it goes. As long as I get no knives thrust in my ribs which is also a danger when you flash money for a quarter. It has changed a LOT since I was there 50 years ago but then again it is still the same at the same time. People are people and you got to love them all. And I do. And I hope that is what reverberates. There just ain’t a lot of stories BY the homeless and drug-addled just reams and reams ABOUT them. So thanks for the good wishes. I’ll let you know when. Plus I have to figure this god damn little digital audio recorder out…. damn this thing, so many instructions. Then let’s hope they don’t assume I’m wearing a wire.

        • stmccrea

          Actually not true. Lots of people take opiods for a week or more for temporary pain relief and come off with no difficulty. Sure, they have withdrawal effects, but they don’t magically become addicts because they took opioids. Some apparently are, but you’re massively overgeneralizing.

          http://www.helpmegetoffdrugs.com/not-addicted

          • Erik Bosma

            Yes, but the seed is planted.

          • stmccrea

            There are usually very complex reasons why a person becomes addicted. Dependence is another thing – long use of a drug can alter the brain so that it’s hard to do without it. But addiction is a complex set of behaviors that simply can’t be caused just by taking a drug.

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  • Katherine

    Since ketamine has made a come back now as an antidepressant, what about the drug is making insurance companies not want to help people pay for it? If there is little research on the effect of this drug, how are clinics able to give it out without informing people of the side effects of the drug, even though research says there are few serious ones, it could still happen. If they are going to say this drug is an antidepressant then I would be interested to see which antidepressant class it would fall under. I also am wondering how this drug helps with depression. Does it alter one’s mood? Does it make them want to get out of bed every day. I feel as if more research needs to be done on how this drug supposedly helps depression if it is going to be prescribed to people.

  • John G

    As one of the early participants in Zarate’s K studies at NIH, I was fortunate to have been one of the 50-60% ‘high responders.’ It saved my life then and continues to save my life now. I have to say that ketamine HcL administered over a 40 minute IV pump infusion at .5mg per kg body weight — has one of the most robust ‘placebo effects’ I have ever encountered in my 63 years of dealing with this illness.

    • Teresa Termite Gibson

      Seriously. I am a big believer in the placebo effect. I question everything. I’m a former high school science teacher with a nearly religious belief in the scientific method. But I have a suicidal kid (24) who thought the treatment would not work. He had 3 hospitalizations in 3 months due to serious ideations and one attempt. He agreed to the treatment because because it sprung him from a hospitalization but he was convinced it wouldn’t work. He went from shaking so much he couldn’t bring a spoon to his mouth (or make a decision) to finishing his double major college degree after 4 initial treatments. The turn around was shocking. It’s not like we hadn’t tried other methods in the 6 years we were helping him try to find some relief: 10s of 1000s of dollars for CBT, DBT, counseling, and the best Psych in town that doesn’t take insurance. And he is on other meds…so maybe it is a synergistic effect?

      It took him 3 weeks to admit it but we saw a change from his second dose in the first serious of 4 treatments. People keep saying it doesn’t last, but prozac doesn’t last, right? You need it every day. So far after 4 months he has had no “down” days with monthly infusions. He had constant suicidal ideation for months and now says “I can’t “follow” a suicidal thought. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but in our situation it worked. I was looking at prepping a funeral…for real… and now I have a kid with 4 job interviews this week who isn’t worried about them at all. I just can’t believe it’s the placebo effect, if it was the other novel treatments would have worked. There is something to this and I welcome any research about why it works and how to make it last longer between infusions.

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  • grove01

    My understanding is that Ketamine has diffused suicidal crises in under two hours in many cases.
    It may not be perfect, but I’m not sure that there are many perfect antidepressants out there.
    Also, there are several pharmaceutical companies working on safer versions of Ketamine. Some have been “fast tracked” by the FDA and classified as “major breakthroughs”.
    Somehow, I get the feeling that part of it will be the “maximizing profits” part of the equation.
    People may have to suffer a little bit longer.

    • Erik Bosma

      Individual metabolisms would also contribute a lot to any results.

  • Glenn

    Nemeroff is trying to restore his name. He was caught in a lying scandal and lost the reputation he was building. I’m glad to see someone try to pick up the pieces and learn from their mistakes but I’m a little unsure that promoting ketamine is a good idea. Now not only ketamine is being pushed as having therapeutic valua but other psychedelics as well. Now we have an opioid epidemic. A ketamine epidemic could easily follow.

    • MMA-Miami Rocks

      “Psychedelics” are among the safest known drugs.

      • Glenn

        Psychedelics may be safe. So are M&Ms. But therapeutic is another question. Should we contact Dr. Timothy Leary (Ram Dass). Are you promoting Turn on, tune in, drop out?

        • MMA-Miami Rocks

          not suggesting their use but only acknowledging their safety.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      I doubt ketamine is ever going to be an epidemic on the scale of opioids, but this is something to consider. We don’t want to get a future situation where everyone with a mental disorder is getting ketamine (overprescription).

      • Glenn

        Have you noticed that the wonder drug ketamine (an animal anesthetic) is being claimed as a a cure for autism, addiction, and any other malady that doesn’t have a cure. Certainly makes big pharma happy as well as the prescribers. This isn’t a FDA approved for any of these mental disorders. It is being used off label. Already many speciality clinics set up. How do these clinics decide if they should proceed with ketamine infusion or try another approved treatment?

        • ferkan

          I wondered who would make the first mention of horse tranquillisers. The Daily Mail prize goes to Glenn.

          It’s rather less exciting to describe Ketamine as a classic anaesthetic for children over 12 months of age, due to it’s excellent safety profile.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2529431/

          • ferkan

            I’m off to make some bread with bathroom cleaning salts.

          • Glenn

            Ketamine was used as an anesthetic for adults, children, and animals. Many positives during surgery and the patient unconscious. The problem was on becoming conscious humans were often delirious, catotonic, or even psychotic. Difficult to evaluate these problems in animals or children. So it was stopped with adults but continued with animals and children. They aren’t such a problem when coming too and are so disorganized they often require additional sedation or tranquilization. It is still used in adults with hypotension or bronchospasm. The dissociative anesthesia may be a reason it is used recreationally like phencyclidine.

          • ferkan

            Well exactly, so describing it as an animal anesthetic is a bit weird, a bit sensationalist no?

            Baking soda is a bathroom cleaning salt, but it’s also a good leavening agent. Which is the most appropriate description in a cooking book?

        • ferkan

          Also, why exactly would this make big Pharma happy? It’s dirt cheap.

          • stmccrea

            Oh, they can repurpose it and get an patent. They did the same thing when Paxil was about to go off patent – they invented “social anxiety disorder” so that they could extend the patent for a new application. They’re doing the same thing with Botox now – promoting it for migraines and other things so they can keep the patent going. Big Pharma is crafty!

          • ferkan

            I’m pretty sure they can’t repurpose Ketamine and patent it. They might be able to do what they normally do and purify an left-isomer (which will likely be functionally no better) or novel delivery version, but that’s it.

            Social anxiety is a very real thing (observations of which date back to at least Hippocrates) and quite amenable to CBT. Pretty much all of us have it to some extent, it’s a disorder only when it gets in the way of what we want to do.

          • stmccrea

            The point is not that it happens (I certainly have personal experience of it), but that it only becomes a “disease” when Big Pharma can make a profit off of it. There are many, many reasons for “social anxiety,” and the concept that all “cases” have the same cause or “treatment” is ludicrous!

          • Maia

            Exactly. In some cultures and sub-cultures this “problem” is called shyness and is considered to be a very normal variation, and/or to some a very “attractive” aspect of quiet personalities.
            What if a person just dislikes what social gatherings usually consist of, though they are required in many circumstances? Is this illness? Are nerds ill? Are poets who love solitude ill? Are people with low sensory thresholds ill (social gatherings are noisy and chaotic)? I could go on…
            Treating what is culturally unpopular and/or treating proposed symtoms while ignoring cultural aspects, is wrong-headed.

          • ferkan
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  • Ketamine Clinics of Los Angele

    The evidence is very clear in people and in lab animals; ketamine relieves depression and suicidality. This is not a placebo effect, but rather a persistent finding with numerous studies reporting 70%+ relief lasting months. Please revisit your conclusions. We would be glad to offer you infusions if you are depressed. Steven Mandel M.D., Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles.

    • reasonsformoving

      “We would be glad to offer you infusions if you are depressed.”

      O, I bet you would.

  • enotty

    This a silly consensus statement, and it seems irresponsible to treat patients with ketamine at this time. Recent work (e.g., http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v533/n7604/full/nature17998.html ) has shown that it is highly likely that it is a metabolite of ketamine that provides antidepressant effects, not ketamine itself. More work is necessary to get this into the clinic.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      I blogged about that paper last year. It’s an important study and very promising, but I wouldn’t say it’s “highly likely” that the metabolite HNK is responsible for antidepressant effects in humans. We will have to wait and see. The evidence so far is from animals.

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  • Bernard Carroll

    Let me just mention that, in addition to treatment resistant depression (TRD), ketamine also is reported useful in obsessive-compulsive disorder and PTSD. Beyond that, ketamine also is known to be rapidly effective in reducing features of Parkinson’s disease. The anesthetists sometimes use it for this purpose to facilitate intubation when patients have marked rigidity. The physiological inference from this broad range of uses is, to my mind, that all those conditions are characterized by cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuit resonance, which will inevitably involve a role for glutamate. So it is not surprising that a drug like ketamine that blocks GLU receptors will calm things down, at least temporarily. What’s surprising is that any effect persists for days, long after the drug is eliminated.

  • JohnThackr

    “In a nutshell, in my view it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that much or all of the apparent benefit is due to the placebo effect.” – True, but also frighteningly close to true about SSRIs.

  • Jamie

    This comment is about crabs and spiders…not ketamine, sorry but I don’t have twitter, and for some reason you were asking whether people have phobias for crabs as well as spiders. I’m working on a new treatment for phobias, and we frequently use spider phobic participants. A small proportion do say that crabs are also pretty creepy, especially when you first perceive them just because the shape is like a spider. That being said, their movement is often more predictable because they only walk in certain directions, and they’re less capable than spiders of running up things, being upside down etc., and in general you know they are not going to be appearing out of nowhere, unless you live in very particular areas. Hence, daily life interference would be negligible in most cases. Pretty sure your comment was rhetorical…but there’s an answer for you!

  • stmccrea

    I think this statement is very similar to saying that alcohol is a legitimate treatment for anxiety disorders, but is only effective in the short term. It reminds me very deeply of the Benzedrine scandal in the 60s, where it was claimed that Bennies were non-addictive antidepressants and were safe and had no major side effects. This was followed by a similar Valium scandal, as Valium was ALSO claimed to be non-addictive, when it is one of the most addictive drugs we know of and now has considerable street value. There are many substances that can make you feel better if you take them in reasonable doses for the short term. This does NOT make them a medical treatment! Unfortunately, there are financial reinforcements for appropriating this kind of drug for “medical” use, and my bet is that Nemeroff’s only qualification for signing onto this statement is because someone in the Pharma industry has got him on their payroll.

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Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.

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