You may not aware that depression is one of the most prevalent illnesses in the developed world. According to WHO, more than 300 million people are affected by it and adversely affect their daily living.
There are numerous antidepressants to treat depression. However, there are patients who are on several antidepressants but still yet to yield a reasonable control. New studies suggest that propofol may be the next new drug for these patients.
Propofol is an IV general anaesthetic drug used by anaesthetists to induce general anaesthesia during operations. While it is known for its powerful effect to induce sleep during minor procedures, studies suggested it may have a role in treating depression.
In the trial, 10 patients were given propofol infusions for 15 minutes and then assessed with a self-reported depression survey. Six out of ten of the patients reported more than 50% improvement in their depression survey.
No serious adverse effects were reported throughout the clinical trial.
The efficacy of propofol infusion may be similar to electroconvulsive therapy but with less unfavourable side effects.
However, more clinical studies would be required to further explore propofol’s antidepressant effects and the possible mechanism.