Study: Ketamine Reduces Suicidal Thoughts and Symptoms of Depression

After receiving ketamine injections, people with treatment-resistant depression displayed fewer depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety, according to a research published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Due to its dissociative effects, ketamine, an FDA-approved anaesthetic for use in hospitals, is also illegally used as a party drug. Medical professionals have seen the medicine occasionally helps those with depression for years.

424 individuals who had not fully reacted to traditional depression therapies, such as antidepressants, participated in the new trial. They started out with six ketamine infusions over the course of three weeks at Virginia clinics, according to CNN.

According to CNN, 20% of individuals who had responded by the end of six weeks said their depressive symptoms were in remission. They showed response and remission rates of 72% and 38%, respectively, after 10 infusions.

After six weeks, approximately 50% of participants who had suicidal ideation or thoughts of suicide were in remission. During the research, anxiety sufferers reported a 30% decrease in symptoms.

The high rates of response and remission were equivalent to those for interventional treatments in community samples with TRD, according to the researchers, and “symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation were successfully treated with ketamine (treatment-resistant depression).

A 52-year-old study participant named Jason Anthony told The Washington Post that he found it difficult to get out of bed because of his unhappiness.

You suddenly wake up and realise something you haven’t felt in fifteen years, he added.

Researchers emphasised the limitations of the study. According to CNN, the study lacked a control group, responses were self-reported, and side effects were objectively evaluated.

According to Patrick Oliver, the study’s principal investigator, ketamine has the potential to aid many depressed and suicidal patients.

Oliver referred to suicide as “an epidemic, and it’s been going on forever.” And we’ve discovered a treatment that fixes these individuals and literally only costs pennies to produce.

The FDA has approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray for the treatment of individuals with treatment-resistant depression when used in conjunction with an oral antidepressant. Spravato is only offered through a restricted distribution system, in accordance with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, due to the risk of serious adverse outcomes brought on by the sedation and dissociation caused by its administration, as well as the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug.

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