OPEN Foundation

Day: 24 August 2016

Ketamine for Depression: An Update

Abstract

A decade has now passed since research into the antidepressant effects of ketamine began in earnest, after the clinical trial reported by Zarate et al. in 2006 (1). In that proof-of-concept study, 18 medication-free patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (TRD) showed a large reduction in core depressive symptoms within hours of receiving a single low-dose 0.5 mg/kg intravenous infusion of ketamine as measured by the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale compared with saline placebo.

Murrough, J. W. (2016). Ketamine for Depression: An Update. Biological Psychiatry, 80(6), 416-418. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.07.005
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It’s time to take psilocybin seriously as a possible treatment for substance use disorders.

Bogenschutz, M. P. (2016). It’s time to take psilocybin seriously as a possible treatment for substance use disorders. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2016.1200060
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Psilocybin: panacea or placebo?

Abstract

We write with reference to the study on psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, reported by Robin L Carhart-Harris and colleagues in The Lancet Psychiatry. Although we are relieved that attention is once again being given to basic research into depression—after the hiatus created the effective abandonment of this area of research by Big Pharma from 2010 onwards—we are nonetheless deeply concerned that the mistakes that led to this withdrawal are in danger of being repeated. Carhart-Harris and colleagues’ study included 12 patients, and although the investigators reported that eight patients achieved complete remission at 1 week, only five of these patients were still in complete remission after 3 months of follow-up.

Hendrie, C., & Pickles, A. (2016). Psilocybin: panacea or placebo?. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(9), 805-806. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30103-1
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Question-based Drug Development for psilocybin

Abstract

In The Lancet Psychiatry, Robin Carhart-Harris and colleagues conclude that there is preliminary support for the safety and efficacy of psilocybin for treatment-resistant unipolar depression. This finding is important because more effective pharmacological treatments with acceptable side-effects are urgently needed for patients suffering from depression. We support the limitations the authors have pointed out about the study population and trial design. We also recognise the paucity of well-designed trials in psychiatry that are based on the principles of clinical pharmacology.

Dijkstra, F. M., Jacobs, G. E., & Cohen, A. F. (2016). Question-based Drug Development for psilocybin. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(9), 806-807. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30214-0
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