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      Ketamine and depression: a narrative review

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          Abstract

          Depression is the third leading cause of disability in the world. Depressive symptoms may be reduced within several weeks after the start of conventional antidepressants, but treatment resistance concerns one-third of patients who fail to achieve recovery. Over the last 20 years, ketamine, an antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, has been described to have antidepressant properties. A literature review was conducted through an exhaustive electronic search. It was restricted to Cochrane reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of ketamine for major depressive disorder and/or bipolar disorder. This review included two Cochrane reviews, 14 meta-analyses and 15 trials. Ketamine was studied versus placebo, versus other comparators and as an anesthetic adjuvant before electroconvulsive therapy. In 14 publications, ketamine provided a rapid antidepressant effect with a maximum efficacy reached at 24 hrs. Its effect lasted for 1–2 weeks after infusion, but a longer-term effect is little reported. Ketamine does not seem to improve depressive symptoms at the end of electroconvulsive sessions. Safety and tolerability profiles with ketamine at low single dose are generally good in depressed patients. However, there is a lack of data concerning ketamine with repeated administration at higher doses. The clinical use of ketamine is increasing. Intranasal (S)-ketamine has recently been approved for depression by the Food and Drug Administration. It could be a promising treatment in depressed patients with suicidal ideation. Collectively, the level of proof of efficacy remains low and more RCTs are needed to explore efficacy and safety issues of ketamine in depression.

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          Most cited references 122

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          NMDAR inhibition-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites

          Major depressive disorder afflicts ~16 percent of the world population at some point in their lives. Despite a number of available monoaminergic-based antidepressants, most patients require many weeks, if not months, to respond to these treatments, and many patients never attain sustained remission of their symptoms. The non-competitive glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist, (R,S)-ketamine (ketamine), exerts rapid and sustained antidepressant effects following a single dose in depressed patients. Here we show that the metabolism of ketamine to (2S,6S;2R,6R)-hydroxynorketamine (HNK) is essential for its antidepressant effects, and that the (2R,6R)-HNK enantiomer exerts behavioural, electroencephalographic, electrophysiological and cellular antidepressant actions in vivo. Notably, we demonstrate that these antidepressant actions are NMDAR inhibition-independent but they involve early and sustained α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor activation. We also establish that (2R,6R)-HNK lacks ketamine-related side-effects. Our results indicate a novel mechanism underlying ketamine’s unique antidepressant properties, which involves the required activity of a distinct metabolite and is independent of NMDAR inhibition. These findings have relevance for the development of next generation, rapid-acting antidepressants.
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            A molecular and cellular theory of depression.

            Recent studies have begun to characterize the actions of stress and antidepressant treatments beyond the neurotransmitter and receptor level. This work has demonstrated that long-term antidepressant treatments result in the sustained activation of the cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate system in specific brain regions, including the increased function and expression of the transcription factor cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein. The activated cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate system leads to the regulation of specific target genes, including the increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in certain populations of neurons in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. The importance of these changes is highlighted by the discovery that stress can decrease the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and lead to atrophy of these same populations of stress-vulnerable hippocampal neurons. The possibility that the decreased size and impaired function of these neurons may be involved in depression is supported by recent clinical imaging studies, which demonstrate a decreased volume of certain brain structures. These findings constitute the framework for an updated molecular and cellular hypothesis of depression, which posits that stress-induced vulnerability and the therapeutic action of antidepressant treatments occur via intracellular mechanisms that decrease or increase, respectively, neurotrophic factors necessary for the survival and function of particular neurons. This hypothesis also explains how stress and other types of neuronal insult can lead to depression in vulnerable individuals and it outlines novel targets for the rational design of fundamentally new therapeutic agents.
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              Antidepressant efficacy of ketamine in treatment-resistant major depression: a two-site randomized controlled trial.

              Ketamine, a glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, has shown rapid antidepressant effects, but small study groups and inadequate control conditions in prior studies have precluded a definitive conclusion. The authors evaluated the rapid antidepressant efficacy of ketamine in a large group of patients with treatment-resistant major depression. This was a two-site, parallel-arm, randomized controlled trial of a single infusion of ketamine compared to an active placebo control condition, the anesthetic midazolam. Patients with treatment-resistant major depression experiencing a major depressive episode were randomly assigned under double-blind conditions to receive a single intravenous infusion of ketamine or midazolam in a 2:1 ratio (N=73). The primary outcome was change in depression severity 24 hours after drug administration, as assessed by the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The ketamine group had greater improvement in the MADRS score than the midazolam group 24 hours after treatment. After adjustment for baseline scores and site, the MADRS score was lower in the ketamine group than in the midazolam group by 7.95 points (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.20 to 12.71). The likelihood of response at 24 hours was greater with ketamine than with midazolam (odds ratio, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.21 to 4.14), with response rates of 64% and 28%, respectively. Ketamine demonstrated rapid antidepressant effects in an optimized study design, further supporting NMDA receptor modulation as a novel mechanism for accelerated improvement in severe and chronic forms of depression. More information on response durability and safety is required before implementation in clinical practice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                DDDT
                dddt
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove
                1177-8881
                27 August 2019
                2019
                : 13
                : 3051-3067
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Neuro-Dol Laboratory Inserm 1107, Clermont Auvergne University , Clermont-Ferrand, France
                [2 ]Clinical Pharmacology Department CPC/CIC Inserm 1405, Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital , Clermont–Ferrand, France
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Gisèle PickeringClinical Pharmacology Department CPC/CIC Inserm 1405, Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, Bâtiment 3C, 58 Rue Montalembert, Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1F-63003, FranceTel +33 4 7 317 8416Fax +334 7 317 8412Email gisele.pickering@uca.fr
                Article
                221437
                10.2147/DDDT.S221437
                6717708
                © 2019 Corriger and Pickering.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 142, Pages: 17
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