The VA May Begin Using Ketamine for Suicidal Patients

 

The Veterans Affairs (VA) is looking into using ketamine for high-risk suicide patients. A pair of programs is currently underway at a VA medical center in Cleveland with the goal of determining whether low-dose ketamine infusions can help patients with treatment-resistant depression and be used to help those with a high risk of suicide.

 

Ketamine has been proven to quickly and effectively treat those with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. More doctors are using it to help those struggling with suicide and treatment-resistant depression. Traditional antidepressants can take weeks or months to begin working, time that some individuals don’t have.

 

“If you look at their depression ratings and suicidal ratings given right before treatment and even four hours later you can see a significant reduction and I think that’s really quite remarkable. It’s quite rapid when you compare it to a traditional medication that is offered for depression, and when it comes to suicidality there’s no other medication that’s been demonstrated to have a rapid effect,” stated Dr. Punit Vaidya the person leading the ketamine project for the VA.

 

Veterans account for close to 20% of all suicides in the US. When these individuals arrive in the ER, they’re in high imminent danger of harming themselves. Right now there isn’t a drug to treat that other than ketamine.

 

The program is still being tested for treatment-resistant depression patients, but the second project will look to see if ketamine can work as a short-term emergency measure to stabilize a suicidal patient.

 

 

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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.