BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A study performed by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center discovered one of the most unlikely antidepressants. Ketamine, a drug with a highly anesthetic effect, was better at combating suicidal thoughts than most sedatives prescribed to depressive patients.
Psychiatrists need to combat suicidal thoughts quickly
Battling depression is one of the biggest challenges of the century, and psychiatrists are struggling to find the best methods to keep its symptoms at bay. Whenever they meet a patient who is considering suicide, they need to act quickly to prevent them from engaging in self-harm. Typical antidepressants are good at fighting these thoughts, but they might take several weeks to be effective.
Therefore, there is no quick alternative to antidepressants, which can prove fatal for some patients. However, a team of researchers might have discovered one way to combat these suicidal thoughts a lot more quickly. This was possible with the help of low doses of the drug ketamine.
Ketamine acts more quickly than antidepressants
For the study, researchers selected 80 patients suffering from clinical depression, who also considered suicide. They were split in two groups, where one received a low-dose ketamine infusion, and the second a sedative called midazolam. Twenty-four hours later, the ketamine group had a significant reduction of the suicidal thoughts, a lot more prominent than the midazolam group. Also, this reduction lasted up to six weeks.
Apart from this aspect, these patients saw great improvements in their mood, fatigue, and overall depression symptoms. However, the main contribution of ketamine was on the suicidal thoughts, classifying it as one of the best substances to use against suicide. This highlights a possible new treatment against depression which acts more rapidly than the classic antidepressants.
However, since ketamine is a powerful drug, it comes with some side effects. After drinking the infusions, some of the patients felt a little spaced out, while others saw how their blood pressure increased. Fortunately, the effects were not severe, and went away after a few hours or days at most after ingestion.