“I am first a pharmacologist and close second, a psychiatrist.” That’s how Erik Messamore, M.D., Ph.D., describes himself.
In a recent KevinMD blog post, the associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University explains why the recent fanfare around esketamine – a drug recently approved by the FDA to treat depression – has left him feeling salty.
“The esketamine story reveals so much of what is wrong about how we get useful medical science findings into clinical practice,” says Dr. Messamore in the KevinMD post. Despite all the excitement, Dr. Messamore explains that esketamine in fact, is not a new medication.
“Esketamine is the left-handed subtype of the very old, very cheap, and very generically-available drug ketamine,” he says.
Thinking as a pharmacologist
Dr. Messamore describes his pathway to medicine as “a little bit untraditional.” He first received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, then set off on a journey through medical school that led him to become a psychiatrist.
“Because I’ve had pharmacology training, I will oftentimes give lectures where I say, “I just love drugs.” I say this to try to get people’s attention, but I follow that with, “I love drugs, because in addition to the way that doctors use them — which is as tools to treat illness – pharmacologists have for the last century or more used drugs as tools to allow nature to speak to us.”