E Point Perfect

Ketamine treatment for alcoholism to be trialed at 7 NHS sites


Trial lead Professor Celia Morgan, from the University of Exeter, said: “More than two million UK adults have serious alcohol problems, yet only one in five of those get treatment. Three out of four people who quit alcohol will be back drinking heavily after a year.”

Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5 billion each year, and wider UK society around £40 billion. Ketamine is a licensed medical drug, widely used as an anaesthetic and in pain relief, which can be used ‘off-label’ as an alternative treatment in therapeutic settings. “We urgently need new treatments.” Professor Morgan said. “If this trial establishes that ketamine and therapy works, we hope we can begin to see it used in NHS settings.”

Dr Stephen Kaar, one of the study leads of the University of Manchester, and Consultant Addictions Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Ketamine assisted psychotherapy for people with alcohol dependence offers the chance for a paradigm shift in how we treat this challenging and frequently re-occurring problem.

“By bringing together the specific biochemical effects of ketamine and the supportive, structured and change focused space of psychotherapy, this study should finally establish the usefulness of this approach to treating addictions.

The Ketamine for Reduction of Alcohol Relapse (KARE) trial will be the largest of it’s kind in the world, and will begin recruitment mid-way through 2023.


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