Ketamine Rapidly Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in People with Depression
While it hasn’t been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression, the drug ketamine has been found in research studies to help some people living with depression. In a small new study, researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City found that it was better and faster at reducing suicidal thoughts in people with depression than commonly used antidepressant medications. Ketamine, which is used in anesthesia, alleviated thoughts of suicide within hours of administration, while antidepressant medications often take weeks to work.
This Columbia study involved 80 depressed adults with clinically significant suicidal thoughts. Study participants randomly received a low-dose infusion of ketamine or midazolam, a sedative. According to the researchers, the ketamine group experienced a greater reduction in suicidal thoughts than the midazolam group – a reduction that occurred within 24 hours and lasted for up to six weeks. They also experienced greater improvement in overall mood and depression symptoms like fatigue.
Results of this study were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.