Neurocognitive effects of repeated ketamine infusion treatments in patients with treatment resistant depression: a retrospective chart review | BMC Psychiatry | Full Text

Ketamine has emerged as a rapid-acting antidepressant in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) increasingly used in non-research, clinical settings. Few studies, however, have examined neurocognitive effects of repeated racemic ketamine infusion treatments in patients with TRD. In an effort to identify potential effects after serial infusions, we conducted a retrospective chart review to identify statistically significant changes in cognition in patient undergoing serial intravenous infusions; concomitantly, we examined baseline cognition as potential predictor of anti-depressant potential. Twenty-two patients with TRD were examined after they finished the induction phase of 8–10 repeated intravenous ketamine infusions and completed the assessments of their depressive symptoms (measured by the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report Scale: QIDS-SR16) and cognitive function (measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment: MoCA) before the first and the last ketamine treatments. Repeated ketamine infusions administered through an escalating dose protocol with 8–10 infusion sessions produced a 47.2% reduction response in depression; there was no evidence of impairment as reflected in MoCA testing. There was a moderate association between baseline cognition and antidepressant response with a Pearson correlation of 0.453. In this naturalistic sample of patients with TRD in our clinical service, repeated ketamine infusions significantly decreased depression symptoms without impairing cognitive performance. The baseline cognition may positively predict antidepressant responses of repeated ketamine treatment.
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