Alcoholics are being given ketamine-assisted therapy to see if it helps them stay off alcohol longer in a £2.4million Phase 3 trial.
The study, led by the University of Exeter and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is being conducted at seven NHS sites across the UK.
The NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and funds health and social care research in the UK.
The move comes after a phase 2 study showed the ketamine and therapy treatment is safe and tolerable for heavy drinkers.
The earlier study found that participants who received ketamine in combination with therapy remained completely fast, which corresponds to 86% of abstinence at the six-month follow-up.
The Ketamine for Reduction of Alcohol Relapse (KARE) trial will now move to the next step in drug development, with the aim of introducing it to the NHS if proven effective.
Ketamine is an approved drug that is widely used as an anesthetic and for pain relief. It is also used as a recreational drug and is classified as a Class B Prohibited Substance by the Home Office.
The study will recruit 280 people with alcohol problems who will be randomly divided into two groups.
Half of them will receive ketamine at the dose used in the first clinical trial of psychological therapy.
The other half receive a very low dose of ketamine and a seven-session education pack on the harmful effects of alcohol. Researchers will study whether the ketamine and therapy package reduces harmful drinking.
More than two million adults in the UK have serious drinking problems, but only one in five receive treatment.
“Three out of four people who quit alcohol will drink heavily again after a year. It is estimated that alcohol-related harm costs the NHS around £3.5 billion each year and around £40 billion to UK society as a whole,” said Professor Celia Morgan, study leader from the University of Exeter.
“Alcohol problems affect not only individuals, but also families, friends and communities, and related deaths have only increased since the pandemic.”
Morgan said that if this study finds that ketamine and therapy work, it could be used in NHS settings.
Recruitment for the new study will begin in mid-2023 with participants across London, Oxford, Manchester etc.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/13/alcoholics-to-be-offered-ketamine-to-help-them-stay-off-alcohol-17922146/ Alcoholics should be offered ketamine to help them stay away from alcohol