Canada is currently experiencing a shortage of ketamine with the impact far-reaching for many patients currently using the drug for treatment.
Ketamine has a variety of medicinal uses. Often it is used as a form of painkiller, but in more recent years, many clinics have opened up using ketamine to help treat depression as well as other mental illnesses.
The shortage of ketamine in Canada has been blamed for numerous reasons. Paul Verity, vice-president of regulatory affairs at Juno Pharmaceuticals told CTVnews.ca “Over the last few years, there’s been a shortage of ingredients, a shortage of different materials needed to manufacture different products, not just ketamine,” Verity said. “And as a result, there’s been a shortage of products available in general.”
Juno Pharmaceuticals has been given permission by the Canadian government to import and sell 25,000 units from the UK, which aims to help solve the issue of the ketamine shortage in Canada. They remain the only company so far with such permission.
There are fears that if the ketamine shortage continues in Canada, many patients may not be able to receive the treatment they require.
Research from the University of Exeter found the drug can be used to treat depressive symptoms in one to four hours after treatment with the effects lasting for up to two weeks.
Patients can be treated via nasal spray or by an IV infusion. One recent study has shown that an IV infusion provides longer lasting antidepressant effects while another study has shown that repeated IV infusions can help in reducing the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Across the border in the U.S. 13 ketamine clinics recently closed, leaving patients without access to their treatment.
Little information was provided as to why the clinics closed. Most of these patients were veterans suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic pain.