Source: Lori Calabrese, M.D., LLC.
Lori Calabrese, M.D., at Innovative Psychiatry in South Windsor, Connecticut has published data on the use of IV Ketamine infusions, with monitored dosing, to stop suicidal thoughts and the need for patient hospitalization. Dr. Calabrese’s data comes from comparing the charts of 231 patients with depression and other co-occurring disorders commonly treated by psychiatrists. The study has been published in the International Journal of Psychiatry Research.
Patients who experience suicidal thoughts are challenging to treat because there is added risk to their basic survival. Medicines that can work rapidly to stop suicidal ideation are uncommon, although desperately needed as Dr. Calabrese explains. However, her study has found that many patients that have tried multiple treatments without effect have responded dramatically to the ketamine infusions.
Calabrese shared that these “serial, titrated ketamine infusions were life-saving.” She goes on to say, “This is the first report of IV ketamine used to treat suicidal thoughts in patients with treatment-resistant depression in a real outpatient practice setting.”
The data shows that in most cases, a single ketamine infusion ended a patient’s suicidal thoughts completely and for those it did not, a few follow-up treatments reduced suicidal thoughts in 79% of patients and stopped the thoughts completely in 59%. There were also no lapses for an additional 4 weeks following the treatments. Dr. Calabrese expressed her excitement, saying “We’ve never had anything like this to offer patients.”
Historically, patients with treatment-resistant depression have lacked options for dealing with suicidal thoughts. These difficulties have placed a high burden on these patient’s motivation, financial situation, and quality of life. “[Ketamine] can offer these patients an extraordinary possibility,” says Dr. Calabrese, because stopping suicidal thoughts preserves life, eases patient and family suffering, and reduce healthcare costs.