Clinical Trial - Novel treatment of suicidality | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Clinical Trial - Novel treatment of suicidality

Suicide is identified as a leading public health issue in Australia and has a devastating effect on families and health providers. Our suicide prevention research team has completed a clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a novel drug treatment, with the participation of individuals experiencing chronic suicidality.

Low-dose ketamine has been proposed as a rapid-acting treatment option for suicidality. The majority of studies to date have used intravenous (IV) ketamine but it has limitations. Oral ketamine can be administered in a range of settings, which is important in treating suicidality, although studies as to safety and feasibility were lacking.

In this UniSC Thompson Institute study, adults with chronic suicidal thoughts participated in the Oral Ketamine Trial on Suicidality, an open-label trial of low-dose sub-anaesthetic doses of oral ketamine over 6 weeks

Participants reported 'life changing' responses and negligible side effects.

Bellberry Limited approval: 2017-12-982. USC HREC: A181101

Stethoscope on clipboard


Low dose ketamine treatment in chronic suicidality: An open-label pilot study

We found that oral doses of ketamine administered in a clinical setting can provide a rapid-acting treatment for chronic suicidality. Within the first six weeks, 69 percent of participants achieved a clinical reduction in suicide ideation.

Six-week oral ketamine treatment for chronic suicidality is associated with increased grey matter volume

We found a link between low-dose ketamine treatment and increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with depression and suicidality.