Suicide is reported to be the tenth leading cause of death in America according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. AFSP explains further that more than 44,000 Americans take their own lives each year with an average of 123 suicides a day.
The suicide epidemic in the country runs in correlation with the rising incidences of depression experienced by Americans.
Recent research collaboration between Janssen Scientific Affairs, Yale School of Medicine, and Janssen Research and Development have looked into the possibility of providing a fast-acting pharmaceutical solution for individuals experiencing an ‘imminent risk of suicide.’
Dr. Carla Canusco and colleagues conducted the double-blind study to test the effectiveness of a nasal spray containing esketamine that are in need of swift relief from the grips of a serious depression that include suicidal thoughts.
Esketamine has been used as a general anesthetic and is similar to ketamine. Esketamine has proven to have antidepressive applications and does not cause the harsh side effects that have been attributed to ketamine. The absence of side effects such as hallucinations is what makes esketamine so attractive as a potential treatment for depression.
The results of the new study were made available to the public through the American Journal of Psychiatry and makes the suggestion that the esketamine nasal spray can provide beneficial short-term for some patients with suicidal tendencies.
The study conducted by researchers observed 68 individuals that have exhibited symptoms of extreme depression. The study participants were randomly assigned to two groups, one of which was provided esketamine treatments, and the second given a placebo.
Participants received twice a day application in addition to their regular depression therapy for four weeks.
Dr. Canuso and the other researchers paid particular attention to the effects of treatments after three hours, 24 hours, and then 25 days after administration.
Individuals that were included in the esketamine group were significantly less depressed four hours and 24 hours after treatment than members of the placebo group.
It was also observed that the esketamine group had much fewer suicidal thoughts after four hours through this benefit did not extend to the 24-hour mark.
There were no observable benefits of esketamine treatments noted at the 25-day mark.
Side effects associated with the use of esketamine is nausea, headaches, dissociation, and dizziness.
Dr. Canuso and colleagues conclude that esketamine can greatly benefit suicidal individuals as normal antidepressant treatments take as long to six weeks to show results.