Sep 25, 2018
On this week’s episode of the podcast, I interview Dr. Cummings, a reputable psychopharmacologist, about ketamine. We talk about psychedelics, the research behind it, both the positives and the negatives. We will look at how it is or is not helpful in psychiatric treatments.
(Disclaimer: There are no conflicts of interest to report. Neither Dr. Puder or Cummings is affiliated with any companies in favor of ketamine and other drug companies.)
Although ketamine has recently become a medication of great interest in psychiatry, it actually is a fairly old medication. It was first synthesized in 1962 and began human trials for anesthesia in 1964. It was finally approved by the FDA as a dissociative anesthetic in 1970.
What has piqued interest in psychiatry is that infusion of a smaller dose of ketamine produces a rapid response in terms of reversal of depressed mood, suicidality, and some treatment-resistant depressed patients.
The literature is rich (in one sense) as the most recent consensus statement (Sanacora, 2017) looked at seven randomized controlled trials, all of which support a robust antidepressant response and anti-suicide response. The difficulty with those trials is the majority of them lasted only one week. A few of the later trials lasted two to three weeks with two to three infusions per week. So, what’s lacking at this point is adequate data regarding long term treatment response and data about transitions to more traditional antidepressant treatments.
For the rest of the blog that goes with this episode, go: here