Low Doses Of Ketamine Can Reduce Suicidal Thoughts In Depressed People (Study)

New research suggest ketamine to treat depression.

Researchers revealed that ketamine can reduce suicidal thoughts in people with depression.

Medical researchers from the University of Columbia have taken a look at the anti-depressant qualities that ketamine possesses and the results, so far, have been positive. The study determined that low doses of the drug are effective in reducing suicidal thoughts in patients diagnosed with depression.

Ketamine had been introduced in the 1960s as a form of anesthetic, however, scientists have been researching its anti-depressive properties for only a decade. However, people seem to use the drug more for recreational purposes, as it has been known to induce hallucinations and body numbness.

High doses of ketamine can be dangerous to the human body,

“There is a critical window in which depressed patients who are suicidal need rapid relief to prevent self-harm,” notes Doctor Michael Grunebaum, lead author of the study, and a research psychiatrist at the Columbia University Medical Center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall rate of suicide in the U.S. has increased since we entered into the 21st century. More so, 2016 had the highest rate of suicide in thirty years.

The researchers noted that most antidepressant trials have excluded patients with suicidal thoughts and behavior, and thus, have limited data on the effectiveness of antidepressants on a wider scale.

While there are antidepressants that can alleviate suicidal tendencies, Grunebaum states that such medication can take weeks for them to take effect. According to the doctor, there is a need for new treatments that provide relief instantly, and the new study suggests ketamine to be the answer.

80 adults with clinical depression were involved in the study, which was later published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Here, they were administered low doses of either ketamine or a sedative known as midazolam. The ketamine group reported a significant reduction in suicidal thoughts within 24 hours of receiving the treatment compared to those who have taken midazolam.

More so, researchers revealed that the effects of ketamine held strong even after six weeks when they did the follow-up.

Grunebaum believes the findings to provide a valuable insight into potential new antidepressant medication that act faster and provide relief to patients who do not respond to current treatments.

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