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Ketamine as a Rapidly-Acting Antidepressant in Depressed Emergency Department Patients

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

Condition(s) targeted: Depression

Intervention: Ketamine (Drug); Diphenhydramine (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2

Status: Recruiting

Sponsored by: New York University

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Stephen Ross, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: New York University School of Medicine
K. Casey Paleos, MD, Study Chair, Affiliation: New York Unversity School of Medicine

Overall contact:
Stephen Ross, MD, Phone: 212-562-4097, Email: stephen.ross@nyumc.org


Investigators will conduct a trial to evaluate the use of Ketamine as an alternate treatment for people with Major Depressive Disorder. This study plans to explore the potential that Ketamine's rapid antidepressant action holds for improving outcomes in patients presenting to the Emergency Department with severe depression. since this is a controlled trial we will use an IV of Ketamine or and equivalent volume of Diphenhydramine. Sixty subjects will be randomly assigned to receive Ketamine (30 participants) or Benadryl(30 participants). Investigators will then compare measures of mood pre- and post-infusion in the Emergency Department. to supplement self-reported measures of depressive symptoms(e. g. mood), investigators will obtain objective measures of the biological aspects of Major Depressive Disorder. With the current evidence pertaining to our hypothesis, investigators hope to add to the growing scientific studies surrounding such a vulnerable population.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Randomized, Double-Blinded Controlled Trial of an N-Methyl D-Aspartate Antagonist as a Rapidly-Acting Antidepressant in Depressed Emergency Department Patients

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

Primary outcome: Evaluate the effects of ketamine on depressive symptomatology

Secondary outcome:

Evalaute the effects of ketamine on treatment alliance

Evalaute the effects of ketamine on suicidal ideation

Detailed description: Study Objectives To explore the use of ketamine as a potential rapidly-acting antidepressant (RAA) for Emergency Department (ED) patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Investigators will conduct a randomized controlled study to evaluate the rapidity and persistence of antidepressant effects of a single sub-anesthetic dose of intravenous (IV) ketamine (0. 25mg/kg) or an equivalent volume of diphenhydramine (25mg) delivered IV over 1-2 minutes, by comparing measures of mood pre- and post-infusion in Emergency Department (ED) patients with MDD. Sixty subjects will be randomly assigned (1: 1) to receive a bolus of ketamine (N=30) or diphenhydramine (N=30). To supplement self-reported measures of depressive symptoms (e. g., mood, suicidal ideation, etc.), investigators will obtain objective measures of heart rate and heart rate variability, measure serum levels of the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, and tissue necrosis factor, TNF-α), which have been shown to play an important role in stress, depression and suicidal behavior (Steptoe 2007, Pandey 2012, Zorilla 2001). In addition, investigators will obtain serum levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) because reduced serum BDNF has been described during acute depressive episodes in patients with MDD, with reports of rescue effects following treatment with various antidepressants and with ketamine (Aydemir 2005, Gervasoni 2005, Karege 2002, Karege 2005, Duncan 2013, Shimizu 2003). Investigators will also measure serum magnesium levels, as these have been shown to correlate in a predictive manner with response to conventional antidepressants (Camardese 2012), and there are data to suggest that ketamine's efficacy in treatment-resistant depression could be related to a relative magnesium deficiency in such patients (Murck 2013). This study will allow investigators to determine to what extent low-dose ketamine, an N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, achieves a rapid reduction in symptoms for severely depressed ED patients with or without suicidal ideation. For decades, much higher doses of IV ketamine (1-2mg/kg) have been used routinely in the ED as a dissociative anesthetic (Green 2011). In 2011, an open-label study was the first published of the use of low dose ketamine (0. 2mg/kg), administered by rapid intravenous infusion, in the ED setting for acutely depressed patients which demonstrated its feasibility, safety, preliminary efficacy and acceptability to both ED patients and staff (Larkin 2011). One long-term goal of this research is to expand treatment options available to depressed ED patients that mitigate the need for inpatient admission and serve as a safety bridge to future out-patient treatment for major depression. As an adjunct to standard treatment, low-dose NMDA receptor antagonists have the potential to positively impact: ED waiting times; repeat visits to the ED; short-term risk of suicide attempts; length of stay on inpatient units and the need for hospital admissions for many acutely depressed patients.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 65 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Medically stable as determined by the medical physician

- Meets criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) based on a structured clinical

Interview (MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview).

- Reports symptoms of severe depression at the time of presentation, defined as a score

of 24 or greater on the MADRS.

- Patients for whom a psychiatric evaluation and disposition decision has been made by

emergency psychiatry staff to admit to an inpatient psychiatric unit at Bellevue Hospital Center or NYU Tisch Hospital.

- Each subject must have a level of understanding sufficient to sign an informed

consent stating that the treatment being offered is not FDA approved for the treatment of depression and is being provided as an off-label option. Exclusion Criteria:

- Pregnancy

- Inability to read or understand English

- Current clinical signs of intoxication or delirium at time of study intervention

- Overdose, within previous 24 hours, of any agent which would impair ketamine


- Lifetime misuse/abuse of ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP),or related substances

- Lifetime history of psychotic spectrum illness

- First-degree relative with history of psychotic illness

- Lifetime diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, or as confirmed by assessment

using items #90-104 of the SCID-II (for DSM-IV).

- Subjects with clinically significant abnormal findings as determined by medical

history, physical examination, vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate), O2 saturation measure, 12-lead ECG, clinical laboratory tests (CBC, chemistry panel, thyroid function tests), urine drug screen, and urine pregnancy test (for females of childbearing potential only).

- Clinically unstable medical, surgical or neurological conditions at ED presentation

- History of stroke or intracranial hypertension

- History of glaucoma

- Subjects with one or more seizures without a clear and resolved etiology

- Current NMDA antagonist medications (eg. Amantadine, Rimantadine, Lamotrigine,

Memantine, Dextromethorphan)

- Known hypersensitivity to ketamine or amantadine

- Anti-psychotic medications (Typicals or Atypicals), with the exception of low-dose

quetiapine (total daily dose of 100mg or less).

- Actively trying to commit suicide, even in a hospital setting

- Current homicide risk

- Unable or unwilling to give informed consent according to HIC guidelines

- Unable or unwilling to provide 2 contact phone numbers or be followed up per study


- Previous enrollment in this study.

- Concurrent enrollment in a research protocol investigating experimental pharmacologic

treatments for depression at this or any other institution.

Locations and Contacts

Stephen Ross, MD, Phone: 212-562-4097, Email: stephen.ross@nyumc.org

Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, New York 10016, United States; Recruiting
Stephen Ross, MD, Phone: 212-562-4097, Email: stephen.ross@nyumc.org
Kevin McMahon, BA, Phone: 646-501-4206, Email: kevin.mcmahon@nyumc.org
Stephen Ross, MD, Principal Investigator

NYU Langone Medical Center/Tisch Hospital, New York, New York 10016, United States; Recruiting
Stephen Ross, MD, Phone: 212-562-4097
Stephen Ross, MD, Principal Investigator

Additional Information

Starting date: December 2013
Last updated: April 13, 2015

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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