“The results of this study will have tremendous implications for public health and will inform the feasibility of integrating virtual health platforms with IV ketamine, which is a research and development priority for Braxia Scientific,” said Dr. McIntyre.
“In addition to offering rapid and significant symptom relief in adults with depression, ketamine has also demonstrated rapid reductions in suicidality in people with depression. It is separately reported in the biomedical literature that cognitive behavioural therapy may also reduce suicidality, but requires several weeks to months before reductions in suicidality are significant.”
This funding is significant for a few reasons. First, it’s basically free money for Dr. McIntyre and Dr. Rosenblat from the Canadian government, which is always nice. Second, if they can gather evidence that doing ketamine actually makes CBT and iCBT more effective, that will be a major milestone because CBT is already one of the more effective therapeutic interventions. Personally, as a sceptic of most current therapeutic practices (hence my interest in new forms of psychotherapy that involve psychedelics), even I have to admit CBT is legit.
Unlike Freudian psychoanalysis, CBT is actually evidence-based. It’s also constantly incorporating new evidence to improve CBT treatments, meaning if Dr. McIntyre and Dr. Rosenblat can show that taking ketamine alongside iCBT is more effective, iCBT practitioners are likely to be very receptive to that evidence.
“The public health imperative to reduce suicidality in the general population provides the rationale for identifying scalable strategies,” added Dr. McIntyre. “Integrating ketamine with CBT provides an opportunity to rapidly reduce suicidality and sustain the effect over the long term. Moreover, the availability of telehealth networks provides the opportunity to scale this important treatment, and has been shown to be effective and highly acceptable to patients.”
In congratulating Dr. McIntyre on his success in the recent funding competition, CIHR wrote, “As health researchers, we are united by a common goal: to improve the health and well-being of Canadians and people throughout the world. Through CIHR, the Government of Canada provides vital support to Canadian researchers, spanning the tightly linked pillars of health research, with the ultimate goal of improving health for all Canadians.”