OPEN Foundation

Day: 1 July 2017

Ketamine for Depression, 4: In What Dose, at What Rate, by What Route, for How Long, and at What Frequency?

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Ketamine, administered in subanesthetic doses, is an effective off-label treatment for severe and even treatment-refractory depression; however, despite dozens of studies across nearly 2 decades of research, there is no definitive guidance on matters related to core practice issues.
METHODS:
This article presents a qualitative review and summary about what is known about ketamine dosing, rate of administration, route of administration, duration of treatment, and frequency of sessions.
RESULTS:
Ketamine is most commonly administered in the dose of 0.5 mg/kg, but some patients may respond to doses as low as 0.1 mg/kg, and others may require up to 0.75 mg/kg. The ketamine dose is conventionally administered across 40 minutes; however, safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in sessions ranging between 2 and 100 minutes in duration. Bolus administration is safe and effective when the drug is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously. Whereas the intravenous route is the most commonly employed, safety and efficacy have been described with other routes of administration, as well; these include oral, sublingual, transmucosal, intranasal, intramuscular, and subcutaneous routes. Patients may receive a single session of treatment or a course of treatment during the acute phase, and treatment may rarely be continued for weeks to years to extend and maintain treatment gains in refractory cases. When so extended, the ideal frequency is perhaps best individualized wherein ketamine is dosed a little before the effect of the previous session is expected to wear off.
CONCLUSIONS:
There is likely to be a complex interaction between ketamine dose, session duration, route of administration, frequency of administration, and related practice. Until definitive studies comparing different doses, rates of administration, routes of administration, and other considerations are conducted, firm recommendations are not possible. From the point of view of clinical practicability, subcutaneous, intranasal, and oral ketamine warrant further study. If domiciliary treatment is considered, the risk of abuse must be kept in mind.
Andrade, C. (2017). Ketamine for Depression, 4: In What Dose, at What Rate, by What Route, for How Long, and at What Frequency?. The Journal of clinical psychiatry78(7), e852-e857. 10.4088/JCP.17f11738
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Ayahuasca: what mental health professionals need to know

Abstract

Background

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive ethnobotanical concoction that has been used for decades by indigenous groups of the Northwestern Amazon and by syncretic religious organizations for ritual and therapeutic purposes. In the last two decades, it is being used worldwide in evolving practices. Ayahuasca seem to therapeutic effects, but controlled studies are lacking. Moreover, its safety and toxicity are not completely understood.

Objectives

To present an overview of the effects of ayahuasca based on the most recent human studies.

Methods

Narrative review.

Results

Ayahuasca administration in controlled settings appears to be safe from a subjective and physiological perspective, with few adverse reactions being reported. More frequent adverse reactions occur in non-controlled settings. Prolonged psychotic reactions are rare and seem to occur especially in susceptible individuals. Ayahuasca showed antidepressive, anxiolytic, and antiaddictive effects in animal models, observational studies, and in open-label and controlled studies.

Discussion

Ayahuasca administration in controlled settings appear to be safe. Moreover, ayahuasca seem to have therapeutic effects for treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders that should be further investigated in randomized controlled clinical trials. However, medical complications and cases of prolonged psychotic reactions have been reported, and people with personal or family history of psychotic disorders should avoid ayahuasca intake.

Santos, R. G. D., Bouso, J. C., & Hallak, J. E. C. (2017). Ayahuasca: what mental health professionals need to know. Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo)44(4), 103-109. 10.1590/0101-60830000000130
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LSD experiments by the United States Army

Abstract

Extensive LSD testing was conducted by the US Army at Edgewood Arsenal and other locations from 1955 to 1967. A number of different reports have been produced describing the health effects of this testing, including the Veterans Health Initiative Report in 2003. By and large, these reports gloss over and minimize the short and long-term side effects and complications of this testing. However, the reports themselves document frequent, severe complications of the LSD. These side effects were regarded by the Army as having been directly caused by the LSD exposure. In view of the current resurgence of interest in hallucinogens within psychiatry, the sanitized version of the effects of LSD exposure on US soldiers needs to be replaced with a more accurate account.
Ross, C. A. (2017). LSD experiments by the United States Army. History of Psychiatry, 0957154X17717678.
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