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Comparing Ketamine and Propofol Anesthesia for Electroconvulsive Therapy

Information source: University of Saskatchewan
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Treatment Resistant Depression

Intervention: Propofol (Drug); Ketamine (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Recruiting

Sponsored by: University of Saskatchewan

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Jonathan Gamble, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan

Overall contact:
Jonathan Gamble, MD, Phone: 1-306-655-1183, Email: J_Gamble@yahoo.com


To determine the effect of ketamine, compared to propofol, when used an an anesthetic agent for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). We hypothesize that ketamine, compared to propofol, will improve the the symptoms of MDD when used as the anesthetic agent to facilitate ECT. Additionally, we hypothesize the dissociative and cardiovascular effects of ketamine will be minimal.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Prospective Randomized Double Blinded Control Trial Using Ketamine or Propofol Anesthesia for Electroconvulsive Therapy: Improving Treatment-Resistant Depression

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: The primary outcome is defined as the number of ECT treatments required to reach a 50% reduction in baseline MADRS (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale) score.

Secondary outcome:

Change in CADSS (Clinician Administered Dissociative States Scale)

Change in ALS-18 (Affective Lability Scale)

Change in ECT energy settings and seizure quality

Hemodynamic instability and respiratory complications

Time to discharge

Change in MADRS score

Detailed description: Treatment resistant depression is a common and disabling condition. The delayed onset of action and side effects exhibited by oral antidepressants are significant limitations. An alternative and well-established therapy is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT has rapid antidepressant effect beginning with the completion of the first session. Nevertheless, like oral medications, patients treated with ECT can develop treatment resistance or failure to respond. There is great need for a novel approach to treatment-resistant depression; one that that is safe, has rapid onset, and is sustained. Pharmaceutical agents with rapid antidepressant effects are a new and promising paradigm in the research for treatment of MDD. A potential therapeutic target is glutamate based signal transmission because glutamate transmission is abnormally regulated in the limbic/cortical areas of many depressed people. Glutamatergic modulating agents, in particular ketamine, have been shown to induce rapid antidepressant effects both in both preclinical models and humans. Additionally, ketamine has been shown to have persistent antidepressive effect. Presently worldwide, propofol is one of the most commonly used anesthetic agents for ECT. There are 2 main disadvantages to this practice. First, propofol has no antidepressive effect. Second, propofol is a potent anticonvulsant that may worsen the quality of the ECT induced seizures. A recent open-label trial compared ketamine to propofol for anesthesia during ECT and demonstrated a significant improvement of depression in the ketamine arm. Ketamine is routinely used to provide safe general anesthesia as well as procedural sedation, analgesia, and amnesia. The combination of the intrinsic antidepressant effects of ketamine with electroconvulsive therapy is a promising concept in clinical research.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Fulfill the diagnostic criteria for major depression according to the Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (most recent edition)

- Failure to respond to at least 2 adequate drug therapies for the current depression


- MADRS score of 20 or above (moderate - severe

- ASA physical status classification I to III

Exclusion Criteria:

- Inability to obtain informed consent

- ASA physical status classification IV

- Complication by any serious physical diseases such as cardiovascular disease

(including untreated HTN), respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease, intracranial HTN (including glaucoma), or seizures

- Presence of foreign body (including pacemaker)

- Pregnancy

- Allergies to anesthetics used in study Includes: a) Ketamine b) Propofol c) Eggs d)

Egg products e) Soybeans f) Soy products

Locations and Contacts

Jonathan Gamble, MD, Phone: 1-306-655-1183, Email: J_Gamble@yahoo.com

Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0W8, Canada; Recruiting
Jonathan Gamble, MD, Principal Investigator
Additional Information

Related publications:

Zarate CA Jr, Singh JB, Carlson PJ, Brutsche NE, Ameli R, Luckenbaugh DA, Charney DS, Manji HK. A randomized trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant major depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;63(8):856-64.

Berman RM, Cappiello A, Anand A, Oren DA, Heninger GR, Charney DS, Krystal JH. Antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients. Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Feb 15;47(4):351-4.

Zarate CA Jr, Brutsche NE, Ibrahim L, Franco-Chaves J, Diazgranados N, Cravchik A, Selter J, Marquardt CA, Liberty V, Luckenbaugh DA. Replication of ketamine's antidepressant efficacy in bipolar depression: a randomized controlled add-on trial. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 1;71(11):939-46. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.12.010. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Diazgranados N, Ibrahim L, Brutsche NE, Newberg A, Kronstein P, Khalife S, Kammerer WA, Quezado Z, Luckenbaugh DA, Salvadore G, Machado-Vieira R, Manji HK, Zarate CA Jr. A randomized add-on trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;67(8):793-802. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.90.

Okamoto N, Nakai T, Sakamoto K, Nagafusa Y, Higuchi T, Nishikawa T. Rapid antidepressant effect of ketamine anesthesia during electroconvulsive therapy of treatment-resistant depression: comparing ketamine and propofol anesthesia. J ECT. 2010 Sep;26(3):223-7. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181c3b0aa.

Wang X, Chen Y, Zhou X, Liu F, Zhang T, Zhang C. Effects of propofol and ketamine as combined anesthesia for electroconvulsive therapy in patients with depressive disorder. J ECT. 2012 Jun;28(2):128-32. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31824d1d02.

Starting date: September 2013
Last updated: April 22, 2014

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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