A latest study led by a group of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has found that ketamine, a drug which used to start and maintain anaesthesia may reduce suicidal thoughts in depressed patients.
The research appears online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
According to scientists, ketamine's anti-suicidal effects occurred within hours after its administration.
Research suggests that ketamine could be a fast-acting and effective treatment to reduce suicidal thoughts.
"Right now accessible antidepressants can be viable in decreasing suicidal thoughts in patients with dejection, however they can produce a long time to have a results". This highlights a possible new treatment against depression which acts more rapidly than the classic antidepressants.
The study said that most restorative trials for antidepressants reject individuals with suicidal thoughts and activities, making it hard to evaluate the drugs' prosperity with them. This was the result of ketamine improving their depression, but it also seemed to directly affect their suicidal ideation.
Dr Grunebaum said: '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 now available treatments'. They were split in two groups, where one received a low-dose ketamine infusion, and the second a sedative called midazolam. One group received a low-dose of ketamine, while the other group received a low-dose of midazolam, a sedative. Twenty-four hours later, the ketamine group had a significant reduction of the suicidal thoughts, a lot more prominent than the midazolam group.
Participants also saw an increase in overall mood, fatigue and depression. Most importantly ketamine is accountable for its one -third effect on the patient's suicidal thoughts only.
Whenever they meet a patient who is considering suicide, they need to act quickly to prevent them from engaging in self-harm. Dissociation and increased blood pressure were primarily reported as adverse effects but were mild to moderate in nature, resolving within minutes to hours upon receiving ketamine.
Doctors recruited 80 clinically depressed volunteers who checked themselves into the New York State Psychiatric Institute to take part in a randomised trial.
Unlike previous studies, the participants experienced no serious negative effects, such as hospitalization or more serious mental health conditions. Further research to assess ketamine's antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects may pave the way for the expansion of new antidepressant medications which are acting quickly and have the potential to benefit the patients, who are not getting any benefits from the now available medications. Maria A. Oquendo (Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA) also contributed. Dr. Oquendo's family owns stock in Bristol-Myers Squibb. Drs.
Columbia Psychiatry is home to distinguished clinicians and researchers noted for their clinical and research advances in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, suicide, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and childhood psychiatric disorders.