Researchers at San Diego Hospice Explore Benefits of Ketamine in Clinical Trials

San Diego psychiatrist Scott Irwin, MD, PhD, is Chief of Psychiatry at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine and oversees the only full-time palliative care psychiatry program at any hospice in the nation.


WEBWIRE – Friday, February 03, 2012

(San Diego, CA) -- Interest and news surrounding ketamine is growing, due to its ability to relieve severe depression more quickly than most traditional medications out in the market.  Researchers at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine have been conducting clinical trials using ketamine for this purpose for several years.
 
San Diego psychiatrist Scott Irwin, MD, PhD, is Chief of Psychiatry at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine and oversees the only full-time palliative care psychiatry program at any hospice in the nation, working exclusively with San Diego Hospice patients. This program combines clinical innovation, applied research, and education to improve mental health and palliative care for a seriously ill population. Research into the use of ketamine is especially critical for these patients due to its fast-acting outcomes.
 
“We know that ketamine has been used as an anesthetic during surgical procedures for decades and has solid evidence for use in cancer pain,” said Dr. Irwin. “When evidence surfaced about five years ago for ketamine’s effectiveness in depression, the research team at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine began investigating the benefits of ketamine for helping our patients affected by severe depression.”
 
Dr. Irwin noted that ketamine has been used at San Diego Hospice on a clinical basis in over 30 patients in the last few years, with similar positive results to what he and San Diego Hospice researchers are finding in their research trials, and as reported in published literature. Because of his research and clinical experience prescribing ketamine. Dr. Irwin has been contacted by, and is forming collaborations with, Dr. Gerard Sanacora from Yale University to further this promising line of research.  Dr. Irwin is also currently funded by the National Institute of Health to study other rapidly acting treatments for depression.

Hospice care and palliative medicine focus on relieving a patient’s physical symptoms and helps patients and their families with their spiritual and mental health needs. San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine is the only hospice and palliative care provider in the nation with a full-time palliative care psychiatry program. Its work with ketamine is one of the many clinical trials that the nonprofit organization has conducted.
 
“Our goal at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine is to prevent and relieve suffering and promote quality of life,” noted Dr. Irwin. “Standard antidepressants do not work often enough or fast enough for relieving the tremendous suffering associated with depression for patients. Ketamine promises to work better and faster, allowing us to achieve this goal.”
 
About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine is one of the largest community-owned, nonprofit hospices in the country, and considered the only academic hospice program in the region. San Diego Hospice brings compassionate, expert medical care to nearly 1,200 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout the county. More information is available online at www.sdhospice.org or call toll-free: 1-866-688-1600. Join our online communities on FacebookTwitter,  YouTube and Google+.



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 ketamine
 Scott Irwin, MD, PhD
 San Diego Hospice
 Palliative Psychiatry
 depression
Contact Information
Melissa DelaCalzada
Director, Communications and Community Relations
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
(1) (619) 278-6139
mdelacalzada@sdhospice.org


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