Latest on Ketamine


Ketamine has been eminent in the psychiatric literature and conferences concerning the past decade as a possible agent for both treatment resistant depression and a rapid antidepressant response.  In some communities ketamine infusion clinics are suitable where patient can go for a hebdomadary infusion to maintain depression either in discharge or a partial response.  At a cultural plain, besides being a dissociative agent by reason of anesthesia, ketamine is also in the crowd of drugs known as club drugs and like such it is abusable.  Ketamine is not amidst the most commonly abused drugs.  The NSDUH ~ing puts lifetime abuse at about 1%.  In a exercise of addiction psychiatry it is smaller likely to be used than LSD and plenteous less likely to be used than dextromethorphan.  It may have ~ing one of many drugs used ~ means of polysubstance users at some point in their custom history.  Ketamine is also classified because a psychedelic drug or a unsalable article that can cause hallucinogenic or dissociative experiences.  From the time their conversion to an act was popularized there was a trust that these experiences could be potentially beneficial from the point of view of personal growth and creativity, for example an agent to enhance psychotherapy, or in more cases as an agent to treat psychiatric problems like alcoholism and sadness.  Ketamine is currently a Schedule III non-anaesthetic drug on the DEA List of Controlled Substances.  My principal professional exposure to the pharmacology of ketamine occurred in basic information courses in medical school in in an opposite direction 1983.  It was taught for example part of the pharmacology of anesthesia agents.  It was tight as not being a first sketch out~ drug at that point because of the lateral effects of dissociation and anesthesia.  Like in the greatest degree old medications there has been a latter revival of interest for rapid sedation of patients in pressing necessity department settings.

Alan Schatzberg, MD gave a figure on ketamine at the University of Wisconsin Annual Update and Advances in Psychiatry in October 2013.  He presented given conditions to show that the effects of intravenous ketamine were intelligent but not sustained.  Depressed unipolar subjects noticed the antidepressant furniture within a few hours and they lasted encircling one week before returning to baseline inactivity scores on a standard Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.  In bipolar indentation the effects last about 12 days.  He presented the results of some NIMH trial of ketamine in method of treating resistant depression.  It was a corpuscular multisite trial that compared ketamine (N=47) to midazolam (N=25) considered in the state of an active placebo.  The pristine outcome measure was remission of depressive symptoms at 25 hours and the rates were 63.8% toward ketamine versus 28% for midazolam.  Dizziness, blurred spectre, nausea/vomiting, headache, and palpitations were the ~ numerous common side effects acutely and at 24 hours.  There were no episodes of psychosis.  Longer mete strategies were presented that might comfort the acute ketamine response including one oral form, repeated infusions, memantine, riluzole, lamotrigine, acute dose d-cycloserine, and several renovated oral agents that were antagonists or indulgent allosteric modulators of the glutamate receptor, or fond agonist of the NMDA receptor glycine place.  Response to ketamine infusion at 2 hours was shown to subsist predictive of response and there was a 70% contingency of relapse after repeated infusion goal this sensitization did not occur at 2 week intervals.

The main emphasis of these studies on ketamine and other agents is the possible importance of the glutamatergic system in the management of depression.  It also has a purported role in schizophrenia.  There was a useful review in an excellent journal Clinical Pharmacokinetics that suggested the (S)-ketamine had a in greater numbers favorable side effect profile than the racemate.  It was with that backdrop of information that I honed in forward this article that popped up without ceasing my Facebook feed.  After the in the ~ place few pages I knew that I was not going to have ~ing disappointed.

The authors review the knowledge in the above paragraphs as a the why and the wherefore for their research and rapidly set forth the character of their series of experiments.  The living being research done in this paper is whole rodent research to test the possible antidepressant, self-administration, drug discrimination, deep-seated corticosterone induced anhedonia, and motor coordination effects effects of various glutamatergic compounds.  All of these paradigms and plenteous more are detailed in the additional and methods section of the online written instrument.  Tissue distribution and clearance of ketamine and metabolites was determined in the couple plasma and brain at 10, 30, 60, and 240 minutes station ketamine administration.

In the first established of experiments, the researchers showed that (R)-ketamine had greater antidepressant sway in three antidepressant predictive tasks – the look closely forced swim test (FST), the novelty-suppressed feeding tax (NSF) and the learned helplessness burden.  They also showed that this was not befitting to higher brain levels (R)-ketamine against (S)-ketamine.  The NMDAR rival MK-801 was also shown to not use the same effects as ketamine, suggesting that the mechanism was more complex than inhibition.  The greatest part interesting part of this paper was the observation of ketamine metabolites and their power as potential antidepressants.  Ketamine is metabolized by CYP3A and CYP2B6 hepatic enzymes for the greatest part to norketamine, but a number of transformations including dehydrogenation, and hydroxylation o a tolerant array of metabolites as shown in the authors’ vivid below.

The HNK metabolites are the major metabolites found in the plasma and capacity of mice after ketamine administration and the plasma of humans.  When greater antidepressant personal estate were noted in female mice, it was determined that the levels of (2S,2S;2R,6R)-HNK were three state of things higher in females than males.  In give an ~ to to confirm that this metabolite was the principally potent, a deuterated form ketamine was synthesized.  The deuteration significantly slowed the metabolism of the parent compound and the antidepressant effects were eliminated largely ~ the agency of blocking the formation of  (2S,2S;2R,6R)-HNK.  The (2R,6R)-HNK derived from (R)-ketamine was subsequently determined to have existence the most potent metabolite (as highlighted in the more than metabolic map).

The authors went without ceasing to confirm that (2R,6R)-HNK increased glutamatergic signalling in a reckon of paradigms.  They also demonstrated that the cabinet led to expected changes in AMPARS (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic sour receptors).  Drug discrimination and self-direction tests showed no tendency for self-distribution with the (2R,6R)-HNK to the degree that opposed to ketamine.  In the identical experiments ketamine was self administered and increased amounts were taken.   The (2R,6R)-HNK metabolite too did not cause motor incoordination or increased movement like ketamine did.

The implications of this bank-notes are far reaching in terms of in posse therapeutic agents.  It clarifies that the molecule involved in treating depression may exist a significantly different structure.  Second, that construction seems to have none of the espouse a cause effects of the parent compound.  This article also has implications for human inquiry.  People are receiving infusions of ketamine beneficial to both chronic pain and chronic depression.  The infusions are done in clinics to what patients need to monitored closely largely for the reason that of the side effects of ketamine.  The scrutiny done in this paper suggests that the management of an estate of the active metabolite of ketamine may initiate the door for a less invasive and time intensifying treatment for chronic depression.  I liked the model that this paper discussed the proper chemistry and pharmacology – undergraduate and sanatory school knowledge that is still pertinent.  I also liked the creative that it potentially demystifies a hallucinogenic mix with ~s.  I have seen the gazette headlines: “Club drugs to treat your dole.”  I doubt that they be disposed be replaced by: “(2R,6R)-HNK to pleasure your depression” anytime soon.

But the nullification of a different urban drug legend is always a defined from my perspective.

George Dawson, MD, DFAPA      


1: Zanos P, Moaddel R, Morris PJ, Georgiou P, Fischell J, Elmer GI, Alkondon M, Yuan P, Pribut HJ, Singh NS, Dossou KS, Fang Y, Huang XP, Mayo CL, Wainer IW, Albuquerque EX, Thompson SM, Thomas CJ, Zarate CA Jr, Gould TD. NMDAR interdict-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites. Nature. 2016 May 4. doi: 10.1038/nature17998. [Epub in our teeth of print] PubMed PMID:27144355.

2: Peltoniemi MA, Hagelberg NM, Olkkola KT, Saari TI. Ketamine: A Review of Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics in Anesthesia and Pain Therapy. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2016 Mar 30. [Epub forward of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 27028535.


1:  The shape labelled Extended Data Figure 1 is from reference number 1 (above) and is used by permission from the Nature Publishing Group – allow number 3863110054693 obtained on May 6, 2016.

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