Researchers have found a drug which can treat the suicidal thoughts in the depressed patients. Ketamine, a drug which gets used to start and maintain anaesthesia, it can also reduce the suicidal thoughts. In fact, this drug is so compelling that its anti-suicidal effects occurred within hours after its administration, as per the researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).
Michael Grunebaum, who led the study said that there is a close window in which depressed patients, who are suicidal, need prompt relief to prevent self-harm. While the available anti-depressant pills take weeks to show the required results, even though these are effective, but it may not treat the depressed person on an immediate basis.
Whereas the patients with suicidal thoughts need the quick medication because when such thoughts occur, the patient goes through the absolute risk. Sadly there is no such treatment available which can treat these patients as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, a rapid rebate in depression symptoms has been seen with the use of ketamine’s low doses and may be followed by a decrease in suicidal thoughts. However, the patients with suicidal thoughts and behaviour usually get eliminated by the most antidepressant trials, restricting data on the effectiveness of antidepressants in this population.
For the study, 80 depressed adults took the medication. The infusion of low-dose ketamine or midazolam was given to the patients who are randomly assigned. Interestingly, the group which had ketamine drug showed better results like clinically notable reduction in suicidal thoughts than the group who had midazolam drug. Even the ketamine group showed the improvement in suicidal thoughts and depression which continued up to six weeks.
Not only the ketamine group lasted with the improvement, but the patients also appeared with improved mood, fatigue and depression when get compared to the midazolam group. Most importantly ketamine is accountable for its one -third effect on the patient’s suicidal thoughts only. Therefore, this treatment is getting suggested for its specific anti-suicidal effect on the patient.
If we talk about the side effects of this drug, mild to moderate feeling of disengagement and increase in blood pressure was present during the infusion but these effects resolved in minutes to hours after receiving ketamine.
Dr Grunebaum stated the research shows that ketamine gives hope as a quick performing treatment for decreasing suicidal thoughts in depressed patients. Further research to assess ketamine’s antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects may pave the way for the expansion of new antidepressant medications which are acting quickly and have the potential to benefit the patients, who are not getting any benefits from the currently available medications.
This drug would be a great hope for those who need an immediate treatment if it gets passed in all assessments. As the depressed persons go under the severe mental illness where they just want to isolate themselves and cannot overcome the disease quickly. Therefore, the suicidal thoughts end up taking the life of the patients many times which is awful. So the medication which can give the immediate relief is much needed.
The research was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.