A new research has discovered that ketamine is effective in rapidly reducing suicidal thoughts in depressed individuals.
The study from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that the drug’s anti-suicidal effects occurred within hours after its administration.
Study leader Michael Grunebaum, a research psychiatrist at CUMC, said: “There is a critical window in which depressed patients who are suicidal need rapid relief to prevent self-harm,”
“Currently available antidepressants can be effective in reducing suicidal thoughts in patients with depression, but they can take weeks to have an effect. Suicidal, depressed patients need treatments that are rapidly effective in reducing suicidal thoughts when they are at highest risk. Currently, there is no such treatment for rapid relief of suicidal thoughts in depressed patients.” added Grunebaum.
The study involved 80 depressed adults with suicidal thoughts who were divided into two groups, with one taking ketamine and the other taking a sedative called midazolam.
Twenty-four hours after the infusion, those that took a low dose of ketamine showed a vast improvement compared to the other group, and it lasted for up to six weeks.
“This study shows that ketamine offers promise as a rapidly acting treatment for reducing suicidal thoughts in patients with depression,” said Grunebaum.
“Additional research to evaluate ketamine’s antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects may pave the way for the development of new antidepressant medications that are faster acting and have the potential to help individuals who do not respond to currently available treatments.”