Repeated oral ketamine for out-patient treatment of resistant depression: Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept study

Yoav Domany, Maya Bleich-Cohen, Ricardo Tarrasch, Roi Meidan, Olga Litvak-Lazar, Nadav Stoppleman, Shaul Schreiber, Miki Bloch, Talma Hendler, Haggai Sharon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Ketamine has been demonstrated to improve depressive symptoms.Aims Evaluation of efficacy, safety and feasibility of repeated oral ketamine for out-patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).Method In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial, 41 participants received either 1 mg/kg oral ketamine or placebo thrice weekly for 21 days (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02037503). Evaluation was performed at baseline, 40 and 240 min post administration and on days 3, 7, 14 and 21. The main outcome measure was change in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).Results Twenty-two participants were randomised to the ketamine group, and 19 to the control, with 82.5% (n = 33) completing the study. In the ketamine group, a decrease in depressive symptoms was evident at all time points, whereas in the control group a decrease was evident only 40 min post administration. The reduction in MADRS score on day 21 was 12.75 in the ketamine group versus 2.49 points with placebo (P < 0.001). Six participants in the ketamine group (27.3%) achieved remission compared with none of the controls (P < 0.05). The number needed to treat for remission was 3.7. Side-effects were mild and transient.Conclusions Repeated oral ketamine produced rapid and persistent amelioration of depressive symptoms in out-patients with TRD, and was well tolerated. These results suggest that add-on oral ketamine may hold significant promise in the care of patients suffering from TRD in the community.Declaration of interest None.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume214
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Depressive disorders
  • antidepressants
  • ketamine
  • randomized controlled trial
  • treatment resistant depression

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