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Douglas Pharmaceuticals tackles treatment-resistant depression


New Zealand’s largest pharmaceutical company, Douglas Pharmaceuticals, is soon to embark on a Phase 2 clinical trial which tests the efficacy of ketamine in treating otherwise treatment- resistant patients who suffer from depression.

Working with the University of Otago, Douglas will start trialling the drug with 200 plus patients in three countries in March 2019. It will be a 12-week trial.

Chief Scientific Officer Dr Peter Surman says, “Final approvals are currently being sought before the full green light is given to proceed with the trial, but we are very confident we will be underway in March.”

Ketamine has long been known as a party drug plus it is used as a short acting anaesthetic.

The aim of the trial is to identify the ideal dose plus the effectiveness in repurposing ketamine to help people with severe depression.

“The advantage of repurposing products, in this case ketamine, is that you know from a safety point of view that are well understood,” Dr Surman says.

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