The effectiveness of repeated intravenous ketamine on depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and functional disability in adults with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder: Results from the Canadian Rapid Treatment Center of Excellence Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: The effectiveness, tolerability, and safety of intravenous (IV) ketamine in adults with treatment resistant depression (TRD) receiving care in real-word settings is insufficiently characterized. Herein, results from a naturalistic, retrospective study are presented from a Canadian outpatient IV ketamine clinic. METHODS: Adults (N = 213; Mage = 45) with Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder, with a minimum of Stage 2 antidepressant resistance, received IV ketamine at a community-based multi-disciplinary clinic. The primary outcome measure was change from baseline to post-infusion 4 on the Quick Inventory for Depression Symptomatology-Self Report-16 (QIDS-SR16; n = 190). Secondary measures included QIDS-SR16-measured response and remission rates, changes from baseline to endpoint in Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale (GAD-7; n = 188) and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS; n = 168). RESULTS: Significant improvement in total depressive symptoms severity (p < 0.0001) was observed after four infusions of IV ketamine 0.5-0.75 mg/kg. Moreover, the response rate (QIDS-SR16 total score change ≥ 50%) was 27% and remission (QIDS-SR16 total score ≤5) rate was 13%. Patients receiving IV ketamine exhibited anxiolytic effects (p < 0.0001,), improved overall psychosocial function (p < 0.0001), and reduced suicidal ideation (p < 0.0001). Compared to the baseline infusion, dissociation severity significantly reduced in subsequent infusions. LIMITATIONS: This was a naturalistic, retrospective study, without a control group. CONCLUSIONS: IV ketamine was safe, well-tolerated, and effective at improving depressive, anxiety, and functional impairment symptoms in a well-characterized cohort of adults with TRD.


  • McIntyre, Roger S
  • Rodrigues, Nelson B
  • Lee, Yena
  • Lipsitz, Orly
  • Subramaniapillai, Mehala
  • Gill, Hartej
  • Nasri, Flora
  • Majeed, Amna
  • Lui, Leanna MW
  • Senyk, Olena
  • Phan, Lee
  • Carvalho, Isabelle P
  • Siegel, Ashley
  • Mansur, Rodrigo B
  • Brietzke, Elisa
  • Kratiuk, Kevin
  • Arekapudi, Anil
  • Abrishami, Amir
  • Chau, Edmond H
  • Szpejda, Witold
  • Rosenblat, Joshua D

publication date

  • September 2020