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Use of Ketamine to Enhance Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in Depression

This study has been terminated.
(limited enrollment)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
James Murrough, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Identifier:
First received: March 2, 2011
Last updated: July 29, 2013
Last verified: July 2013
The primary objectives of this study are to investigate the potential for ketamine anesthesia to increase the antidepressant efficacy of Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and to decrease acute ECT-induced adverse cognitive effects.

Condition Intervention
Major Depression Bipolar Depression Drug: Ketamine Drug: Methohexital

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Ketamine Anesthesia to Enhance Efficacy and Tolerability of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients With Unipolar or Bipolar Depression

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by James Murrough, Mount Sinai School of Medicine:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression-24 (HRSD24) [ Time Frame: Change from beginning of ECT treatment to end; on average 3 weeks ]
    The HDRS-24 is used to rate depressive symptoms. This instrument is considered one of the "gold standard" clinician-rated instruments for depressive symptoms. We have established procedures for the maintenance of inter-rater reliability.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Self Report (QIDS-SR) [ Time Frame: Change from beginning of ECT treatment to end; on average 3 weeks ]
    The QIDS-SR is a 16-item self-rated instrument designed to assess the severity of depressive symptoms present in the past seven days (Rush et al 2003). The 16 items cover the nine symptom domains of major depression, and are rated on a scale of 0-3. Total score ranges from 0 to 27, with ranges of 0-5 (normal), 6-10 (mild), 11-15 (moderate), 16-20 (moderate to severe), and 21+ (severe).

Enrollment: 3
Study Start Date: April 2010
Study Completion Date: October 2010
Primary Completion Date: October 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Ketamine
Participants receiving ECT for depression will be randomized 1:1 to either ketamine (experimental condition) or methohexital (standard anesthetic).
Drug: Ketamine
Ketamine 1-2 mg/kg IV as indicated for ECT
Active Comparator: Methohexital
Participants receiving ECT for depression will be randomized 1:1 to either ketamine (experimental condition) or methohexital (standard anesthetic).
Drug: Methohexital
Methohexital 1 mg/kg IV as indicated for ECT

Detailed Description:

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most robust antidepressant treatments available. However, there is the potential for significant acute and longer term adverse cognitive effects with ECT and the antidepressant response requires multiple treatment sessions, increasing risk of adverse effects. Further, antidepressant response to ECT is often less than maximal and relapse is common. Growing preclinical and clinical evidence of the rapid-acting antidepressant properties of the anesthetic agent ketamine suggests the use of ketamine anesthesia as a strategy to increase rate of response and shorten treatment course in the administration of ECT. In addition, preclinical and clinical evidence suggests the potential of ketamine to decrease the adverse cognitive effects associated with ECT.

The investigators propose a pilot study to measure both acute therapeutic efficacy and cognitive side effects of ECT using ketamine compared to methohexital in depressed patients. The investigators will also explore other parameters of ECT such as seizure duration and morphology, as well as hemodynamic and behavioral changes.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Male or female patients: 18 to 59 years
  2. Women of childbearing potential must agree to use a medically accepted means of contraception for the duration of the study
  3. DSM IV MINI diagnosis of major depressive episode (MDD), unipolar or bipolar
  4. Pretreatment 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score > 21
  5. ECT is clinically indicated
  6. Patient has the capacity to provide informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or mental retardation
  2. Current primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder, obsessive- compulsive disorder, or eating disorder that precedes the onset of the current episode of depression
  3. Current diagnosis of delirium, dementia, or amnestic disorder
  4. Baseline Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) score < 24 and a total score falling two standard deviations below the age- and education-adjusted mean
  5. Any active general medical condition or CNS disease which can affect cognition or response to treatment
  6. Current (within the past three months) diagnosis of active substance dependence, or active substance abuse within the past week
  7. Lifetime history of ketamine or PCP abuse or dependence
  8. ECT within three months
  9. The presence of any known or suspected contraindication to methohexital or ketamine including but not limited to known allergic reactions to these agents, uncontrolled hypertension arrhythmia severe coronary artery disease and porphyria
  10. Pregnancy
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01309581

United States, New York
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York City, New York, United States, 10029
Sponsors and Collaborators
James Murrough
Principal Investigator: James W Murrough, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: James Murrough, Principal Investigator, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Identifier: NCT01309581     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: GCO 09-2251
Study First Received: March 2, 2011
Results First Received: November 7, 2012
Last Updated: July 29, 2013

Keywords provided by James Murrough, Mount Sinai School of Medicine:
electroconvulsive therapy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Bipolar Disorder
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders
Bipolar and Related Disorders
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anesthetics, Dissociative
Anesthetics, Intravenous
Anesthetics, General
Central Nervous System Depressants
Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action processed this record on September 21, 2017