Objective: This pilot study assessed the feasibility, efficacy and safety of an individual dose-titration approach, and of the intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SC) routes for treating depression with ketamine.
Method: Fifteen treatment-refractory depressed participants received ketamine or midazolam (control treatment) in a multiple crossover, double-blind study. Ketamine was administered by IV (n = 4), IM (n = 5) or SC (n = 6) injection. Dose titration commenced at 0.1 mg/kg, increasing by 0.1 mg/kg up to 0.5 mg/kg, given in separate treatment sessions separated by ≥1 week, with one placebo control treatment randomly inserted. Mood, psychotomimetic and hemodynamic effects were assessed and plasma ketamine concentrations assayed.
Results: Twelve participants achieved response and remission criteria, achieved at doses as low as 0.1 mg/kg. All three routes of administration resulted in comparable antidepressant effects. Fewest adverse effects were noted with the SC route. Antidepressant response, adverse effects and ketamine concentrations were dose-related.
Conclusion: Antidepressant response occurred at a range of doses and at <0.5 mg/kg. The dose-titration approach is a practical method for optimizing the efficacy - side-effects trade-off on an individual patient basis. This pilot study provides preliminary evidence for SC injection as a practical, feasible and efficacious treatment approach.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01441505.
Keywords: dose titration; intramuscular; intranasal; intravenous; ketamine.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.