Ketamine reduces suicidality in depressed patients

Sep 10, 2009

Drug treatment options for depression can take weeks for the beneficial effects to emerge, which is clearly inadequate for those at immediate risk of suicide. However, intravenous (IV) ketamine, a drug previously used as an anesthetic, has shown rapid antidepressant effects in early trials.

Researchers have now explored ketamine's effects on suicidality in patients with treatment-resistant depression, and are publishing their results in the September 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry. Ketamine acutely reduced when patients were assessed 24 hours after a single infusion. This reduction in suicidality was maintained when patients received repeated doses over the next two weeks.

Corresponding author Rebecca Price commented on these encouraging findings: "If these findings hold up in larger samples of high-risk suicidal patients, IV could prove an attractive treatment option in situations where waiting for a conventional antidepressant treatment to take effect might endanger the patient's life."

Since this was a preliminary study in a small group of depressed patients, further research is needed to replicate these results. However, the findings are promising and could result in improved treatment for suicidal patients in the future.

More information: The article appears in , Volume 65, Issue 5 (September 1, 2009), published by Elsevier.

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Understanding psychosis and schizophrenia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers explore the antidepressant effects of ketamine

Feb 21, 2008

Drug treatments for depression can take many weeks for the beneficial effects to emerge. The excruciating and disabling nature of depression highlights the urgency of developing treatments that act more rapidly. Ketamine, ...

Faster-acting antidepressants closer to becoming a reality

Jul 24, 2007

A new study has revealed more about how the medication ketamine, when used experimentally for depression, relieves symptoms of the disorder in hours instead of the weeks or months it takes for current antidepressants to work. ...

Regular follow-up important during antidepressant treatment

Nov 01, 2006

Because individuals can react differently to antidepressant medications, regular follow-up is important during the first few weeks of treatment, according to an editorial by Group Health psychiatrist and researcher Greg Simon, ...

Recommended for you

Understanding psychosis and schizophrenia

18 hours ago

A report published today by the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology challenges received wisdom about the nature of mental illness.

"Body recognition" compares with fingerprint ID

Nov 27, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide forensic anatomy researchers are making advances in the use of "body recognition" for criminal and missing persons cases, to help with identification when a face ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.