Rapid response with ketamine on suicidal cognition in resistant depression

Rajarshi Guha Thakurta, Ranjan Das, Amit Kumar Bhattacharya, Debasish Saha, Sreyashi Sen, Om Prakash Singh, Bikash Bisui
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 2012, 34 (2): 170-5

CONTEXT: Suicidal ideation in depressed patients is a serious and emergent condition that requires urgent intervention. Intravenous ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, has shown rapid antidepressant effects, making it a potentially attractive candidate for depressed patients with suicidal risk.

AIMS: In India few studies have corroborated such findings; the present study aimed to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of antisuicidal effects of ketamine in subjects with resistant depression.

SETTINGS AND DESIGN: Single-center, prospective, 4 weeks, open-label, single-arm pilot study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven subjects with DSM-IV major depression (treatment resistant) were recruited. The subjects were assessed on Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI), 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). After a 2-week drug-free period, subjects were given a single intravenous infusion of ketamine hydrochloride (0.5 mg/kg) and were rated at baseline and at 40, 80, 120, and 230 minutes and 1 and 2 days postinfusion.

RESULTS: The ketamine infusion was effective in reducing the SSI and HDRS scores, the change remained significant from minute 40 to 230 at each time point.

CONCLUSIONS: The real strength of this study rests in documenting the rapid albeit short-lasting effect of ketamine on suicidal ideation in depressed patients.

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