Ketamine Provides Rapid Care over Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2018

The findings leveled for both groups after 24 hours and at 25 days of undergoing Ketamine treatment.

"The main reason for its significance is because this is being developed by a drug company and it's potentially quite likely that this medication might become available as a treatment available on the NHS for depression", he said. But the sedative has also been abused by partygoers, enough to be considered a "date rape drug" alongside Rohypnol. The researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in the USA involved 68 participants randomly assigned to one of two groups - either receiving esketamine or placebo twice a week for four weeks alongside standard treatment with antidepressants.

Half the patients also received a nasal spray of esketamine, one of the two molecule components in ketamine, while the others received a placebo.

The other half were treated with a placebo.

68 participants were randomly assigned a treatment, either receiving esketamine or placebo twice a week for four weeks. Patients who received esketamine showed significantly greater improvement in suicidal thoughts at 4 hours (effect size = 0.67), but not at 24 hours after the first dose (effect size = 0.35) or at day 25 (effect size = 0.29).

MJ_Prototype via Getty Images The nasal spray could provide rapid treatment for patients who are deemed at imminent risk for suicide.

A novel nasal spray of ketamine - often misused as a party drug - can rapidly treat symptoms of major depression, and suicidal thoughts, a study has found. With its fast-relief effect, esketamine could be an important depression drug since most anti-depressants available today take four to six weeks to be effective.

However, the researchers, as well as members of the AJP Editorial Board, acknowledged the unsafe potential for abuse that surrounds the drug. They discuss the need for additional research relating to the abuse potential of ketamine during phase 3 trials, such as monitoring of patients' craving and potential ketamine use from other sources. "Protection of the public's health is part of our responsibility as well, and as physicians, we are responsible for preventing new drug epidemics", AJP editor Robert Freedman, M.D. said in a press release published via the American Psychiatric Association.

Freedman and colleagues argue that steps to control the use of ketamine would not be aimed at preventing its use for beneficial purposes but would allow for treatment to "continue to be available to those with need, while the population that is at-risk for abuse is protected from an epidemic of misuse".

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