In a significant breakthrough, scientists have determined that the sedative ketamine may be effective in reducing suicidal thoughts quickly.
A staggering new discovery about suicide and depression could have gigantic ramifications for the medical community. A new study claims that the sedative ketamine not only was shown to be effective at reducing suicidal thoughts in people who were depressed, but that the treatment was effective in a matter of hours.
That’s huge because most antidepressants take weeks before they have any effect, and many depressed people who have thought about self-harm don’t have that kind of time. The study found that ketamine was more effective than other sedatives at treating depressed people
The study involved 80 clinically depressed adults who were divided into two groups, with one taking ketamine and the other taking a different sedative. Those that took a low dose of ketamine showed a vast improvement compared to the other group, and it lasted as long as six weeks, researchers found.
“There is a critical window in which depressed patients who are suicidal need rapid relief to prevent self-harm,” said Michael Grunebaum, MD, a research psychiatrist at CUMC, who led the study. “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.”