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Sarah Brand

Sarah Brand

Review of the science and meta-analysis to study the effectiveness of a single dose of ketamine therapy on suicidal ideation.

Wilkinson ST, Ballard ED, Bloch MH, Mathew SJ, Murrough JW, Feder A, Sos P, Wang G, Zarate CA Jr, Sanacora G. The Effect of a Single Dose of Intravenous Ketamine on Suicidal Ideation: A Systematic Review and Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Feb 1;175(2):150-158. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17040472. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 28969441; PMCID: PMC5794524.

 

Highlights:

·         Within 1 day, ketamine rapidly reduced suicidal ideation significantly compared to the control/placebo groups.

·         Results of suicidal thought reduction were sustain for up to 1 week after a single dose of ketamine.

·         Meta-analysis consisted of 167 participants across 10 comparison studies.

 

Results:

Ketamine rapidly (within 1 day) reduced suicidal ideation significantly on both the clinician-administered and self-report outcome measures. Effect sizes were moderate to large (Cohen’s d=0.48–0.85) at all time points after dosing. A sensitivity analysis demonstrated that compared with control treatments, ketamine had significant benefits on the individual suicide items of the MADRS, the HAM-D, and the QIDS-SR but not the BDI. Ketamine’s effect on suicidal ideation remained significant after adjusting for concurrent changes in severity of depressive symptoms.

Conclusions:

Ketamine rapidly reduced suicidal thoughts, within 1 day and for up to 1 week in depressed patients with suicidal ideation. Ketamine’s effects on suicidal ideation were partially independent of its effects on mood, although subsequent trials in transdiagnostic samples are required to confirm that ketamine exerts a specific effect on suicidal ideation. Additional research on ketamine’s long-term safety and its efficacy in reducing suicide risk is needed before clinical implementation.

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