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Attenuation of antidepressant and antisuicidal effects of ketamine by opioid receptor antagonism.

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Abstract

We recently reported that naltrexone blocks antidepressant effects of ketamine in humans, indicating that antidepressant effects of ketamine require opioid receptor activation. However, it is unknown if opioid receptors are also involved in ketamine’s antisuicidality effects. Here, in a secondary analysis of our recent clinical trial, we test whether naltrexone attenuates antisuicidality effects of ketamine. Participants were pretreated with naltrexone or placebo prior to intravenous ketamine in a double-blinded crossover design. Suicidality was measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale item 3, Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale item 10, and Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. In the 12 participants who completed naltrexone and placebo conditions, naltrexone attenuated the antisuicidality effects of ketamine on all three suicidality scales/subscales (linear mixed model, fixed pretreatment effect, p < 0.01). Results indicate that opioid receptor activation plays a significant role in the antisuicidality effects of ketamine.
Williams, N. R., Heifets, B. D., Bentzley, B. S., Blasey, C., Sudheimer, K. D., Hawkins, J., … & Schatzberg, A. F. (2019). Attenuation of antidepressant and antisuicidal effects of ketamine by opioid receptor antagonism. Molecular psychiatry, 1-8., https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0503-4
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