Ketamine Infusion Therapy to Reduce Suicidal Thinking

Ketamine Infusion Therapy and Suicide Prevention Help

Medical experts recognize that having suicidal thoughts increases the risk that a patient of depression will attempt suicide. Patients with depression have a 20 times higher risk for suicide attempts compared to the general population.

The conventional medications to treat suicidal thinking – including clozapine and lithium – may lead to serious side effects, and will involve close monitoring of blood levels.

Electroconvulsive therapy may also help to reduce suicidal thinking, but it is limited in scope and may have severe side effects, including memory loss.

Ketamine infusion treatments have shown a rapid reduction in the symptoms of depression and a result relief from suicidal thoughts. Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles, led by Dr. Steven L Mandel, provides Ketamine Infusion Therapy to reduce suicidal thinking in patients of depression in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, California, and surrounding communities.

Research Study for Low Dose Ketamine

Many studies in the past have been conducted to evaluate the benefits of Ketamine Therapy for patients of depression. However, these studies typically exclude patients who reported current suicidal thinking. A new, comprehensive research study was conducted to examine the anti-depressant and anti-suicidal effects of repeat, low dose ketamine infusions in depressed outpatients with suicidal thinking that persisted despite anti-depressant treatment.

Repeat ketamine infusion treatments with low doses of ketamine rapidly reduced suicidal thoughts in a group of patients suffering from treatment resistant depression. In their report published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, a team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators declared the results of their study in depressed outpatients who had been experiencing suicidal thought for three months or longer.

Dawn Ionescu, MD, of the Depression Clinical and Research Program in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, lead and corresponding author of the paper, said that their finding is that low doses of ketamine, when added on to current anti-depressant medications, quickly decreased suicidal thinking in depressed patients. According to Dr. Ionescu, this finding is vital because not many safe and effective treatments are available for these patients.

Details of the Study

The study enrolled 14 patients with moderate to severe treatment resistant depression who had suicidal thoughts for three months or longer. Participants were given two weekly ketamine infusions over a three-week period. The initial dosage administered was 0.5 mg/kg over a 45 minute period – about five times less than a typical anesthetic dose – and after the first three doses, it was increased to 0.75 mg/kg.

During the three-month follow-up phase after the ketamine infusions, participants were assessed every other week.

Most of the participants experienced a decrease in suicidal thinking, and seven achieved complete remission of suicidal thoughts at the end of the treatment period. Of those seven participants, two maintained remission from both suicidal thinking and depression symptoms throughout the follow-up period.

Although no severe adverse events were report at either dose, and no significant differences in side effects were noticed between the two dosage levels, additional studies in larger patient groups are needed before any conclusions can be established.

Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles receives patients for ketamine infusion treatments from Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, California, and other cities and neighborhoods across the landscape in this region of Southern California.

For more information about treatments for depression, bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and other conditions contact us at the Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles in Southern California (Orange County) by clicking here or calling  310-270-0625

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