Long-term outcome in outpatients with depression treated with acute and maintenance intravenous ketamine: A retrospective chart review

J Affect Disord. 2020 Nov 1:276:660-666. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.07.089. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


Background: Little is known about the long-term outcomes of repeated ketamine infusions for depression. We conducted a retrospective chart review to investigate outcomes of maintenance intravenous ketamine treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Methods: Eighty-five patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) who started intravenous ketamine from October 2018 to November 2019 were examined. Symptom severity was evaluated with the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report scale (QIDS-SR16) at every visit prior to administration. The initial ketamine dose was usually 0.5 mg/kg infused over 40 min. Intravenous ketamine was administered twice-weekly for three weeks in an induction phase, followed by maintenance with a variable administration schedule and dose. Response was defined as a ≥50% reduction in total QIDS-SR16 score from baseline.

Results: Forty (47.1%) of the 85 patients who started treatment discontinued during or right after the induction phase; 3 (3.5%) were still on induction at the time of this report, and 42 (49.4%) transitioned to maintenance after completing induction. Among these patients, 14 (16.5%) discontinued during maintenance and 28 (32.9%) continued on maintenance. The mean ketamine dosage during maintenance was 0.91±0.28 mg/kg. Fifteen out of 82 patients (18.3%) responded to induction treatment and 6 (7.3%) remained in responder status at the time of data analysis during maintenance. Three patients discontinued ketamine due to side-effects.

Conclusions: Despite the apparently low response rate in QIDS-SR16 scores and considerable out-of-pocket costs, almost half of real-world outpatients with TRD decided to continue with maintenance ketamine treatment due to perceived significant improvement.

Keywords: Intranasal; Intravenous; Ketamine; Maintenance; Major depressive disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Depression
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Ketamine* / therapeutic use
  • Maintenance
  • Massachusetts
  • Outpatients
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ketamine