Ketamine may be an effective treatment option for people suffering from severe depression. According to new clinical trial results.
The study, published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that ketamine may be a viable alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a common treatment for severe depression. showed that there is (ECT “includes the induction of seizures by electrical stimulation of the brain.” Harvard University Gazette. )
of Harvard University Gazette report The clinical trial included 403 patients at five facilities and was conducted from March 2017 to September 2022.
In the trial, “researchers at General Brigham, Massachusetts, found that 55 percent of people treated with ketamine experienced sustained improvement in depressive symptoms without significant side effects.” according to Harvard University Gazette.
“For more than 80 years, ECT has been the gold standard for treating severe depression,” said Amit Anand, director of the Massachusetts General Brigham Psychiatric Translational Clinical Trial and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. . official gazette. “However, it is also a controversial treatment because it can cause memory loss, requires anesthesia, and is fraught with social stigma. It’s the largest comparative study, and the only study that also measured effects on memory.”
“People with treatment-resistant depression suffer a lot, so it’s great that studies like this give them another option,” added Anand. “This real-life clinical trial allows us to immediately translate the results into the clinical setting.”
The researchers said, “A total of 403 patients underwent randomization at five clinical sites. 200 patients were assigned to the ketamine group and 203 to the ECT group.”
“Ketamine was not inferior to ECT as a treatment for treatment-resistant major depression without psychosis.” In their conclusion they wrote.
The results of this clinical trial could represent a major breakthrough in treating severe depression.
“Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is estimated to affect 21 million adults in the United States…Ketamine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a sedative/analgesic It is a low-cost dissociative drug approved as a drug and general anesthetic.Previous studies suggest that low doses of the drug may produce rapid antidepressant effects in patients with MDD. There is.” Harvard University Gazette report.
Earlier this year, Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that ketamine “shows promise as another option to offer patients suffering from psychiatric disorders,” and that it “may be used to maximize patient outcomes while minimizing risks.” I urge my colleagues to exercise caution and follow evidence-based practices.”
but, Another study earlier this year They found that “a single dose of intravenous ketamine compared to placebo has no short-term effect on the severity of depressive symptoms in adults with major depressive disorder.”
The trial, led by researchers in General Brigham, Massachusetts, is “the largest actual comparative efficacy trial of ECT and ketamine to date,” the journal said. official gazette“This trial employed a patient-centered approach, with three independent assessments of depression (patient, rater, and clinician) obtained, and no active solicitation of participants.” doing.
“With the growing number of patients who do not respond to conventional psychiatric treatments and require more advanced care, ECT remains the most effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression,” says the clinical trial. Facility manager Murat Altinay said. As quoted by the Cleveland Clinic, official gazette. “This study shows that intravenous ketamine is not inferior to ECT in the treatment of nonpsychotic treatment-resistant depression and may be considered an appropriate alternative treatment for this condition. ”