Study finds oral ketamine can rapidly reduce suicidal thoughts

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 8, 2021, 5:01pm CST
Study finds oral ketamine can rapidly reduce suicidal thoughts

Oral ketamine may rapidly reduce suicidal ideation in chronic sufferers, a new study has found. The drug, which has become a subject of interest in the mental health field as a potential treatment for major depression, was able to clinically reduce symptoms in more than half of suicidal participants, doing so within only six weeks.

The new study comes from USC Australia, where researchers studied ketamine’s potential for treating chronic suicidal ideation, reporting significant reduction by the sixth week of the clinical trial. Though some patients who experience suicidality find relief from common anti-depressant medication, others continue to suffer.

Past research into ketamine and its potential to help these long-term sufferers has largely focused on intravenous ketamine infusions, which are usually given in a hospital setting using an injection. This new study is different: it looked into the potential benefits of oral ketamine doses and whether it was a feasible way to reduce suicidal ideation.

There are some downsides to intravenous ketamine infusions, including the fact they’re more expensive, riskier, and more invasive. It is cheaper, faster, and easier to give patients oral ketamine…but doing so depends on whether it will offer the same relief. The new study shows promising results.

The study took place over six weeks and, by the end of it, 69-percent of participants achieved a ‘clinical reduction’ in their suicidal ideation. Half of the participants still reported ‘significant improvement’ from their suffering four weeks after the ketamine treatments had stopped, as well, with the researchers noting that dosage can be tweaked to each patient’s unique needs.


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