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Ethical Considerations for Clinical Research and Off-label Use of Ketamine to Treat Mood Disorders: The Balance between Risks and Benefits

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Abstract

Tishler & Gordon (1999) highlighted ethical concerns behind challenge studies inducing psychosis with ketamine and made recommendations to enhance ethical standards. Recently, there is a plethora of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of ketamine to treat mood disorders which lead to complex ethical issues. Pharmaceutical companies and researchers hope to profit by developing patentable variations on ketamine for treating depression. Media has labelled ketamine as a “miracle” antidepressant. Some clinics offer expensive off-label use of ketamine to treat mood disorders. This article examines the ecological validity of ketamine trials, measures to protect patients, informed consent procedures, financial inducements to participants and conflict of interest of researchers, therapeutic misconception, concealment and deception. Further recommendations are purposed to improve ethical standard of clinical research involving ketamine.

Zhang, M. W., & Ho, R. C. (2016). Ethical Considerations for Clinical Research and Off-label Use of Ketamine to Treat Mood Disorders: The Balance between Risks and Benefits. Ethics & Behavior. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2016.1189333
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