Beijing, Dec 1 (EFE).- A team of researchers from Taiwan has shown that the administration of low doses of ketamine can reduce the risk of suicide in people suffering from difficult-to-treat depression.
Dr. Su Tung-ping, one of the authors of the study, explained this Thursday at an event in Taipei that traditional antidepressants take between 3 and 4 weeks to take effect, which leaves a “critical” period for patients with severe symptoms. , the island agency CNA reported in the last few hours.
However, international studies have revealed that ketamine, a psychoactive substance classified as a narcotic in many countries, can relieve depressive symptoms within hours, providing a “bridge” until other medications work, according to Su.
In the study carried out by Su and his team, 84 people with treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation participated, who were divided into two groups: one received an injection of 0.5 milligrams of ketamine per kilogram of body weight, and the other received midazolam, a sedative that does not affect depression.
The results, based on patients’ responses to a standardized depression questionnaire, showed that half of the group receiving ketamine experienced up to a 50% reduction in the risk of suicidal behavior, according to the expert.
Up to 20 to 25 percent of patients reported improvement in their symptoms, Su added.
Ketamine treatment maintained the antidepressant effects between 10 and 14 days, and the anti-suicidal effects between 5 and 7 days.
The doctor described the risk of patients developing an addiction to ketamine as “very low,” as it involves “small doses in a very short period.”
The team of experts published their findings in the scientific journal International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Ketamine is a substance used as an anesthetic and analgesic in veterinary and human medicine, but it also has hallucinogenic and dissociative effects.
Specialists emphasize that deaths by suicide never have a single trigger, but are the result of psychological, biological and social factors that have treatment. People with suicidal behavior and their loved ones have health services and emergency telephone numbers at their disposal where they can receive help. EFE