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Meta-analysis of short- and mid-term efficacy of ketamine in unipolar and bipolar depression

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Among treatments currently assessed in major depression, ketamine, has been proposed of great interest, especially because of its very rapid action. However, the time-course of the antidepressive action of ketamine remained unclear. In the present meta-analysis, we provided a clear and objective view regarding the putative antidepressive effect of ketamine and its time-course. We searched the MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases through December 2013, without limits on year of publication, using the key words ketamine and synonyms for mood disorder or episode. Six randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trials of ketamine in major depression (n=103 patients) were thus identified. Authors were contacted and they all provided original data necessary for this meta-analysis. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated between the depression scores in ketamine and placebo groups at days 1, 2, 3–4, 7 and 14. Ketamine showed an overall antidepressive efficacy from day 1 to day 7. However, the maintenance of its efficacy over time failed to reach significance in bipolar depression after day 3–4. Significant SMDs were not explained by demographic or clinical characteristics of included samples. The present meta-analysis provides a high level of evidence that ketamine has a rapid antidepressive action during one week, especially in unipolar disorder.

Romeo, B., Choucha, W., Fossati, P., & Rotge, J. Y. (2015). Meta-analysis of short-and mid-term efficacy of ketamine in unipolar and bipolar depression. Psychiatry research.
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